Peyton Manning Rumors: Miami Dolphins Are the First Major Losers in Chase for 18

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during warm ups against the New York Giants during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Reports are abound today that the Miami Dolphins have set their sights on a new veteran quarterback. A quarterback who has thrown for 12,000 yards and 68 touchdowns, with 58 interceptions, throughout a seven-year career.

No, Dolphins fans, those are not Peyton Manning numbers. In fact, those are not even Daunte Culpepper numbers. Instead, South Beach based fans get the opportunity to welcome Alex Smith to their locale today as he visits with the Dolphins.

Smith, who has been trapped in negotiations with the San Francisco 49ers for the most part during this free agency period, is a 27-year-old quarterback, who prior to last season, never really made the desired impact with the 49ers during his seven-year spell there.

After being selected first overall in the 2005 NFL draft, he has endured a turbulent time in San Francisco throughout his career experiencing many more lows than highs during the process.

Prior to last season, Smith had only started a full 16-game season once in his career. That year, 2006, his second season after finishing his rookie season with one touchdown to 11 interceptions and a 4-12 record, he threw for 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, but still the 49ers only managed a 7-9 finish.

Throughout most of his career, with an ever-changing coaching staff and offensive scheme, Smith struggled as a professional quarterback. He never fully imposed himself on the franchise and carried it out of the doldrums as he at one stage endured one of the most depressing outcries for a quarterback change in history.

It was quite a shock when Smith was re-signed by new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh last year.

Everybody expected the 49ers to move on from him in the wake of the new Harbaugh era in San Francisco, but instead Harbaugh heavily invested in the much maligned quarterback and fought his corner all the way to the NFC Championship Game.

While Smith was a vital cog in the 49ers machine that beat the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs prior to losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, he isn't so important that the team stayed away from Peyton Manning this offseason.

The 49ers are one of the final three teams trying to sign Manning in order to help their Super Bowl push, and, for my money, are now the most likely destination.

Nobody in San Francisco will be too bothered about moving on from Smith as David Akers was the most incisive weapon for the team during last season. Smith, while he managed the game excellently, only won games in San Francisco with high-quality defense and a kicker having a career year.

The 49ers relied on not turning the ball over, winning with defense and managing the quarterback position.

That approach to the game can only really get you so far, which is why the team is now trying to bring in Manning over Smith. Another team that previously wanted Manning is the Miami Dolphins.

With new head coach Joe Philbin in place, the Dolphins needed a new quarterback to build around and quickly set their sights on Manning. However, while they expended energy on Manning, their efforts could have been focused on trading with the St. Louis Rams, a la the Washington Redskins, or convincing Matt Flynn to sign on to guarantee his signature opposed to trying to fight for it now with Seattle.

Signing Smith will do nothing for the Dolphins as a franchise. He is no better than Matt Moore realistically and Moore probably gives you a better chance to win with his second season on the roster.

While you cannot blame the Dolphins for trying to sign Manning, everyone in their position would do the same, there is no doubt that they have now lost out because of their efforts in the chase for No. 18.