Alex Smith on visit to meet with Dolphins

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Alex Smith on visit to meet with Dolphins

As if the drama around the 49ers' quarterback situation could get any more interesting . . . A week ago, quarterback Alex Smith was adamant he would return to the 49ers. And the 49ers had an offer on the table and were confident the sides would eventually work things out.While the 49ers wait for an answer from Peyton Manning after jumping into the race for his services last week, Smith is making the first free-agent visit of his career to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Smith arrived in the Miami area on Sunday morning to meet with the Dolphins. Several fans spotted him on an overnight flight from San Francisco to South Florida, and ESPN first reported Smith's trip was to meet with the Dolphins. embedly_twitter_50782942background:url(http:a0.twimg.comimagesthemestheme1bg.png) 1A1B1F; padding:20px; embedly_twitter_50782942 pbackground:fff;padding:10px 12px 0px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:000;font-size:18px;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px embedly_twitter_50782942 .embedly_tweet_contentbackground:fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px embedly_twitter_50782942 p span.metadatadisplay:block;width:100;clear:both;margin-top:0px;height:40px; padding-bottom: 12px; embedly_twitter_50782942 p span.metadata span.authorline-height:15px;color:999;font-size:14px embedly_twitter_50782942 p span.metadata span.author aline-height:15px;font-size:20px;vertical-align:middle embedly_twitter_50782942 p span.metadata span.author imgfloat:left;margin:0 10px 0 0px;width:48px;height:48px embedly_twitter_50782942 p a color: 2FC2EF; text-decoration:none; embedly_twitter_50782942 p a:hovertext-decoration:underline embedly_twitter_50782942 .embedly_timestampfont-size:13px;display:inline-block;margin-top: 5px; embedly_twitter_50782942 .components-above span.embedly_timestampfont-size:10px;margin-top: 1px;line-height:12px embedly_twitter_50782942 a color: 2FC2EF; text-decoration:none; embedly_twitter_50782942 a:hovertext-decoration:underline embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-screen-name font-size: 14px; font-weight: bold; embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-full-name padding-left: 4px; color: 999; font-size: 12px; embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-actionsmargin-left: 10px;font-size:13px;display:inline-block;width:250px embedly_twitter_50782942 .components-above span.tweet-actionsfont-size:10px embedly_twitter_50782942 .controlsline-height:12px!important embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-actions a margin-left:5px embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-actions a bfont-weight:normal embedly_twitter_50782942 .components-above span.tweet-actions a bvertical-align:baseline;line-height:12px embedly_twitter_50782942 .components-above .tweet-textfont-size:13px;vertical-align:baseline embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-image float: left; width: 40px; embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-user-block-image float: left; width: 48px; height: 48px embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-row margin-left: 40px; margin-top: 3px;line-height: 17px; embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-user-block margin-left: -40px; embedly_twitter_50782942 .stream-item padding-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 12px; embedly_twitter_50782942 .simple-tweet-image img margin-top: 4px; embedly_twitter_50782942 .simple-tweet-content margin: 0 0 13px 0px; font-size: 14px; min-height:48px; embedly_twitter_50782942 .in-reply-to-border border-color: EBEBEB; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px 0 0; embedly_twitter_50782942 .in-reply-to-text margin-left: 4px; padding-left: 8px; padding-right: 10px; color: 999; font-size: 12px; embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-actions i background: transparent url(http:a2.twimg.coma1306889658phoeniximgsprite-icons.png) no-repeat;width:15px;height:15px;margin:0 4px -3px 3px;outline: none; text-indent:-99999px;vertical-align:baseline;display:inline-block;position:relative; embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-actions a.retweet-action i background-position:-192px 0; embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-actions a.reply-action i background-position:0 0; embedly_twitter_50782942 .tweet-actions a.favorite-action i background-position:-32px 0; @DavisHsuSeattle
Davis HsuI am on flight right now (red eye) from San Francisco to Miami- QB Alex Smith is sitting in first class- you connect the dots.
Mar 18 via Echofon Favorite Retweet Reply The South Florida Sun-Sentinel caught up with Smith in the airport. After seven roller-coaster seasons with the 49ers, Smith said he is beyond the point where anything is a shock to him."This is the NFL," Smith said. "I guess nothing surprises me anymore. I never thought a year ago Manning would be a free agent either. I'm never surprised by anything."Smith seemed to have found a permanent home with the 49ers. After his performance during the season, Smith accepted coach Jim Harbaugh's NFL Coach of the Year Award in a nationally televised awards show the night before the Super Bowl. Smith also served as Harbaugh's caddie for the first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.FLASHBACK: Harbaugh: Unanimous within 49ers that Smith is 'our guy'The 49ers won the NFC West with a 13-3 record and reached the NFC championship game with Smith at quarterback. Smith, the top pick in the 2005 draft, thrived under the tutelage of Harbaugh, offensive coordinator Greg Roman and quarterbacks coach Geep Chyrst.Smith's efficient play enabled the 49ers to tie and NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season with 10. He threw just five interceptions, and finished the season with 159 consecutive regular-season pass attempts without getting picked off. Steve Young holds the 49ers' record with 183 attempts without an interception, 1993.While the 49ers' passing game was efficient with Smith, it was far from prolific. The 49ers ranked 29th in the league in passing yards. Moreover, the 49ers ranked 31st in third-down conversions (29.4 percent) and 30th in red-zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns on just 40.7 percent of their trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line.Smith posted the best season of his career, completing 61.3 percent of his passes for 3,144 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. His passer rating was 90.7.Harbaugh said last season he considered Smith an "elite quarterback." However, as CSNBayArea.com has reported, the 49ers were not willing to make Smith an "elite" offer. SFGate.com reported Saturday that Smith's contract offer is three years, 24 million -- an 8 million average annually salary.In comparison, the New York Jets recently signed Mark Sanchez to a five-year, 58.25 million extension. And the Buffalo Bills signed Ryan Fitzpatrick last season to a seven-year, 62.2 million deal. Both players received more than 20 million in guaranteed money.
But until Sunday, there appeared to be no market for Smith.The Dolphins are looking for a quarterback and are involved in discussions with unrestricted free agent Matt Flynn, the Green Bay backup who played well in his limited opportunities.Meanwhile, the NFL Network reports Manning has informed his three suitors -- 49ers, Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans -- that he will make a decision Monday or Tuesday. However, ESPN reports Manning has made no such promise on when he expects to make a decision.

49ers extend one-year qualifying offers to Purcell, Bradford

49ers extend one-year qualifying offers to Purcell, Bradford

The 49ers on Monday extended one-year qualifying offers to nose tackle Mike Purcell and linebacker Carl Bradford as exclusive-rights free agents.

Purcell appeared in 15 games last season. He started the first five games of the season at nose tackle and was a reserve for the remainder of the season. Originally signed in 2013 as an undrafted rookie from Wyoming, Purcell has appeared in 25 games over the past three seasons.

The 49ers claimed Bradford off waivers in December from the Green Bay Packers. He appeared in the final two games of the season with the 49ers and was credited with two tackles.

Bradford entered the NFL out of Arizona State as a fourth-round pick of the Packers in 2014. After being inactive for every game as a rookie, Bradford was among Green Bay’s final cuts in 2015. He spent the season on the practice squad.

He appeared in four games for the Packers last year. The 49ers claimed him after he was waived in December.

Exclusive rights free agents are player who have fewer than three years of NFL service who have no outside negotiating power if a team extends a qualifying offer.

Mailbag: Which 49ers vets are on shaky ground?

Mailbag: Which 49ers vets are on shaky ground?

The 49ers’ new regime heads to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week with the first major wave of offseason activity set to kick off.

Already, the 49ers have made roster improvements. And there figure to be plenty of activity ahead in the coming weeks.

Here are some questions submitted by readers on Facebook for this edition of 49ers Mailbag:

Do you see the 49ers cutting ties with larger contracts like Bethea, Torrey Smith and Ahmad Brooks?‬ (Blair Wilkins)
The 49ers have approximately $75 million in space under the salary cap – and that’s before any adjustment of Colin Kaepernick’s contract. So it’s not as if the organization needs to create cap room.

Any decision made to part ways with veteran players will be made solely on how that player fits into what the 49ers envision on the field.

And that’s what general manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff are doing now. They are studying the video from last season to determine which players fit their ideals.

Safety Antoine Bethea is scheduled to earn $5.75 million. Bethea, 32, enters the final year of his contract. There is no question he is everything the 49ers want in a player off the field. If one of the younger guys is not better than Bethea, there is no reason to get rid of him.

Brooks is on the books to earn $5.3 million in 2017. That’s not a huge amount for a starting outside linebacker or defensive end – whichever spot he might fit best. The 49ers must look to upgrade their pass rush. Brooks turns 33 next month. He’s good for six sacks a season. Again, it’s not as if the 49ers can’t afford him. And, as of now, it’s not as if the 49ers have anyone better.

Smith is scheduled to earn $8 million. He has been vastly underutilized in his two seasons since signing with the 49ers. He’s the most interesting case of the high-priced veterans.

Kyle Shanahan’s offense is predicated on using the running game to set up the play-action shot down the field. Smith is limited. He’s not a possession receiver. He’s not going to make plays over the middle. He is an outside receiver whose contributions come in the vertical passing game. But that’s what Shanahan wants.

If Smith is paired with a strong tight end, a running back who catch the ball out of the backfield, a slot receiver with short-area quickness to get open underneath, a very good receiver on the other side and an accurate quarterback who can throw the deep ball, there should be a role for Smith in the 49ers’ offense.

Will the 49ers continue to be aggressive pursuing free agents this offseason? If so, what positions?‬ (Bradley Lodge)
The 49ers have zeroed in on two veteran free agents and they signed them both.

The organization has already spent more money than it did all of last offseason on veteran free agency with the four-year, $16 million deal to sign defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, whom the Miami Dolphins recently released.

Nickel back K’Waun Williams has a history with 49ers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley. The 49ers did not have to make much of a financial investment to sign him.

The 49ers will definitely go after a veteran quarterback or two in free agency or via trade. Pass rusher, inside linebacker and wide receiver are other positions the 49ers can be expected to look during free agency.

The opening of the new league year – when free-agent signings and trades can occur – is March 9. The draft is seven weeks later.

The 49ers must fill as many of their needs with smart deals that fit into the long-term plan with veteran acquisitions. Then, the draft is about taking the best players on their board when it’s time to select. Teams that reach for need generally strike out.

What are the chances of drafting a QB with first pick and playing them behind a Kap / Cousins until they're ready to become starter?‬ (Hillory Broussard)
If Colin Kaepernick returns, it will not be as a no-questions-asked starter. Just read what Lynch said on KNBR this week about the team’s needs:

“Do we have some places – probably the ultimate position, quarterback – where we need to improve? Absolutely. And we’re committed to doing that.”

That statement can easily be interpreted that Lynch does not believe the 49ers had a starting-caliber quarterback on the roster last season.

But if the 49ers were to go out and swing a trade for Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s going to take a big commitment – in terms of draft picks and a suitable new contract. Then, the 49ers would have that player.

Cousins or Garoppolo would unquestionably fill the 49ers’ need at quarterback for 2017 and beyond -- at least in the minds of the 49ers' new decision-makers. There would be no reason for the 49ers to then draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick – if the 49ers even had the No. 2 overall pick at that point.