The San Francisco 49ers need to re-sign Alex Smith. Not because he is an incredible talent, but because it makes sense for both sides.
Jim Harbaugh's secretive attempt to sign Peyton Manning resulted in catastrophe.
Upon hearing that he was not the only quarterback the 49ers' were interested in signing, Smith took a trip to Miami to talk with the Dolphin's brass.
Smith's departure would leave Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien as the only quarterbacks on San Francisco's depth chart.
Fortunately, it has been reported that Smith would rather sign with his old club than move down to Miami.
But Harbaugh’s decision to pursue Manning will have a reverberating effect on Smith.
Smith's fragile feelings seem hurt by his coach's unfaithful behavior.
Harbaugh had the chance to cut ties with Smith the second he was hired last year. Instead, he announced that he would not only re-sign Smith, but that he would be the starting quarterback.
For the first time since his rookie year, Smith had a coach that backed him. This drastically improved his confidence which was evident in his play last season.
But after Harbaugh’s visit with Manning, Smith will once again question whether he is “the guy."
In his first six years, Smith has been through it all: losing seasons, public criticism, boos, being benched, injuries, etc.
Harbaugh’s presence seemed to assuage Smith.
Despite Smith's career year in 2011, San Francisco's passing attack gained the fourth fewest yards per game in the NFL. But they did win 13 games and secure a first round bye, and that’s what counts.
Smith was the definition of a “game manager” last season.
His turnaround was came full circle after the difficult NFC Championship when the 49ers loss was blamed on Smith's receivers and not him. For the first time in his career, he was not made the scapegoat.
Another first awaits Smith should he return: the opportunity to play for the same offensive coordinator two years in a row.
With another year in Greg Roman’s offense and the additions of Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, Smith should have no problem building upon his 2011 campaign.
Even at 35-years old, Moss is a deep threat. His reputation alone will draw double coverage which will give the rest of the receivers favorable matchups.
The combination of an improved receiving corp and 49ers’ ability to re-sign all their key defensive starters (Dashon Goldson, Carlos Rogers and Ahmad Brooks), has San Francisco poised to return even stronger in 2012.
But with Smith talking to the Dolphins, the 49ers’ quarterback situation is suddenly in the air.
While Smith has every right to be upset with Harbaugh and the 49ers’ organization, he needs to remember who he is and put his pride aside.
Sure he won a big playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, but he also threw 53 interceptions and 51 touchdowns in his previous six seasons.
San Francisco is the best fit for Smith, and at this point, Smith is the only fit for the 49ers. The two sides must mend relationships and get on with football because the fans are ready for another playoff run, something which will not be easy considering their 2012 schedule.
Harbaugh must use his wisdom to convince Smith that he is still “the guy,” in San Francisco.
Between now and the start of the season Smith needs to create chemistry with Moss and Manningham.
If he is unable to do this, both he and the 49ers will have wished that they went their separate ways.
But more likely than not, Smith will continue to develop and maybe even shake the “game manager” label by the time San Francisco reaches the playoffs next season.