Business is so personal for Smith, 49ers


Business is so personal for Smith, 49ers

As if Alex Smith needed any more evidence, yes, the game of football at this level is a business.Loyalty? There's no such thing.Feelings? Eventually, they'll be hurt.And that's where we are with the 49ers and Smith after the first week of the NFL free-agent signing period.Smith was underwhelmed by the 49ers' only contract proposal.--Three years. That does not show much of a commitment for a quarterback whose coach called him "elite." It also means the 49ers are holding the door ajar for youngster Colin Kaepernick to take over before his rookie contract expires after the 2014 season.--Eight million dollars annually. That hardly rates as an elite offer for a quarterback, either. After all, recently signed quarterbacks have been awarded better deals. Ryan Fitzpatrick has a contract from the Buffalo Bills that averages 9.83 million. And less than two weeks ago, the New York Jets struck a new deal with Mark Sanchez that pays him 13.5 million annually.CEO Jed York stated firmly on the eve of free agency that the ball was in Smith's court. He could sign the contract at any time. York repeated his words on Monday, saying the deal remains on the table."We'd like for him to be here, and we'll see where it goes," York said.RELATED: Jed York on Alex Smith -- "It's up to him"
When Smith showed no inclination to cave when the proposal was first offered, the 49ers went after Peyton Manning. Coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, in a clandestine operation, flew across the country to watch Manning throw.The 49ers waited hopefully as Manning mulled his opportunities. On Monday, Manning decided on the Denver Broncos.In the meantime, Smith was free to investigate his other options.Smith traveled over the weekend to visit with Miami Dolphins coaches and officials. The Seattle Seahawks were briefly interested but only as a backup plan. When the Seahawks signed Matt Flynn, that left the Dolphins as the only other team in the mix for Smith.

RELATED: Smith, 49ers relationship can be mended
Miami already has Matt Moore, who started 12 games last season. Moore completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 2,497 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions for the Dolphins, who finished 6-10.On Monday, the Dolphins also signed former Jacksonville starter David Garrard, who did not play last season. The Garrard addition might not rule out Smith as an option, but it certainly complicates the issue. Smith won't be able to use the Dolphins as leverage to get a better offer from the 49ers -- not that the 49ers were going to raise their initial offer, anyway.The Dolphins do not appear to offer Smith his best chance. After all, Smith would be in competition with Moore and Garrard. The Dolphins might look to select Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the No. 8 overall pick, as well.Smith's best option is to return to the 49ers.ESPN's Adam Schefter speculated Tuesday morning the 49ers, along with Jacksonville and Green Bay, were a team "to monitor" as Denver will look to trade Tim Tebow -- the outstanding runner and 46-percent passer who was at the helm when the Broncos transformed their 1-4 season into a midseason push and a playoff victory.This is a business.Smith does not like the treatment he's gotten from the 49ers -- a cold, take-it-or-leave-it approach. But when he removes emotions from the equation, he'll have no trouble seeing the 49ers are his best option.The 49ers might be his only option.If Smith eventually signs the deal with the 49ers -- as most still expect him to do that -- he'll return to the team as the presumptive starter. But Kaepernick is inching closer.Smith is finding out that his play last season in helping the 49ers go 13-3 in the regular season and advance to the NFC championship game is a thing of the past.He made 6.5 million total while starting all 16 games and throwing just five interceptions in 18 games, including the playoffs. That breakout season, apparently, did not resonate with general manager Trent Baalke and chief negotiator Paraag Marathe.Smith has been offered a deal that is nowhere near elite in this era. And that stings.Harbaugh and Smith, apparently, began the process of mending fences on Monday with a conversation, reported. The Sacramento Bee reported the meeting lasted an hour.RELATED: Ratto -- Will Smith still buy magic springing from Harbaugh's tongue?
Harbaugh and Smith have known each other for 14 months. Harbaugh delivered Smith's wife flowers at the hospital after the birth of the couple's first child in May. A month earlier, Harbaugh handed Smith a playbook, entrusting the then-unsigned Smith to install the offense to his offensive teammates during the lockout.After the 49ers' surprising success this season, Smith went on stage and gave an acceptance speech on behalf of Harbaugh for NFL Coach of the Year during a nationally televised event the night before the Super Bowl. Then, Smith caddied for Harbaugh during the first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.So it has been personal.And that might be why the business side of it hurts so much.

49ers select DE Solomon Thomas with No. 3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select DE Solomon Thomas with No. 3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Defensive line
College: Stanford
Height: 6-2 ½
Weight: 273 pounds
Selection: First round, No. 3 overall

SANTA CLARA – After some late intrigue surrounding the No. 1 overall pick, the Cleveland Browns went with the player universally considered the top NFL prospect.

Myles Garrett went with the first selection, then the 49ers traded back one spot with the Chicago Bears, who chose North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

The 49ers still got the player they would have chosen with the No. 2 overall pick: Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas with the second pick.

General manager John Lynch engineered a trade that enabled the 49ers to pick up third and fourth-round draft picks this year, as well as the Bears’ third-round pick next year to move back one spot.

With the selection of Thomas, the 49ers have now chosen defensive linemen with their first picks in each of the past three drafts.

The 49ers picked Arik Armstead with the No. 17 pick in 2015. Last year, in Trent Baalke’s final draft as general manager, the 49ers chose DeForest Buckner with the No. 7 pick.

Thomas becomes the highest-drafted defensive player from Stanford in school history. The Minnesota Vikings selected Stanford linebacker Jeff Siemon No. 10 overall in 1972.

The 49ers finished with a 2-14 record last season in Chip Kelly’s only season to land in the No. 2 draft slot. CEO Jed York fired Kelly and Baalke at the conclusion of the season.

Lynch had been shopping the No. 2 overall pick in trade scenarios in recent weeks. The 49ers accomplished their goal, trading back one spot and getting a bounty of picks to help in the rebuilding project.

The 49ers chose Thomas over such players as running back Leonard Fournette, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and safety Jamal Adams.

Thomas, who spent five years in Australia as a youngster, came to Stanford as a top 25 national recruit. In his final college season, Thomas led the Cardinal with 62 tackles, 15 for loss, and eight quarterback sacks. He was an All-American and chosen as the winner of the Morris Trophy, awarded to the Pac-12 defensive lineman of the year.

Thomas appears to be a fit at multiple positions along the line in new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme. While he might be best-suited for an interior position, new coach Kyle Shanahan said recently at Stanford’s pro day that he believes Thomas can play the team’s pass-rush position.

The 49ers have struggled to generate much of a pass rush since the departure of Aldon Smith, whom the club released prior to the 2015 season after multiple off-field incidents.

Ahmad Brooks and Buckner tied for the team-lead last season with six sacks. Brooks and Aaron Lynch led the 49ers in 2015 with 6.5 sacks apiece. Brooks and Lynch both recorded six sacks in ’14 to lead the team.

The 49ers have nine draft picks remaining. Their next scheduled pick comes Friday with the second selection of the second round, No. 34 overall.

49ers trade No. 2 pick to Bears for four total NFL Draft picks

49ers trade No. 2 pick to Bears for four total NFL Draft picks

The 49ers on Thursday dealt the No. 2 overall pick in the draft to acquire more selections to assist in the organization’s massive rebuilding project.

After advertising for weeks that the 49ers were “open for business,” first-year general manager John Lynch executed a trade on Thursday night with the Chicago Bears.

The Bears moved up to No. 2, while the 49ers took Chicago’s No. 3 overall pick. The 49ers received the Bears’ picks this year in the third round (No. 67) and fourth round (No. 111), as well as the Bears’ third-round pick next year.

Cleveland kicked off the NFL draft with the selection of Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. The Bears selected quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick.

The 49ers had engaged in preliminary trade discussions with six teams, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area. Three teams were inside the top 10 and three teams were outside the top 10.

This draft appeared to set up for the 49ers to trade back because of their needs at so many positions. The 49ers finished 2-14 last season, leading to the firings of general manager John Lynch and coach Chip Kelly.

The 49ers entered the opening day of the draft on Thursday with a scheduled 10 draft picks, including the No. 2 pick in each of the first four rounds.

1. First round, No. 2: DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford
2. Second round: No. 34 overall
3. Third round: No. 66 overall
4. Third round: No. 67 overall (from Chicago for No. 2 pick)
5. Fourth round: No. 109 overall
6. Fourth round: No. 111 overall (from Chicago for No. 2 pick)
7. Fourth round: No. 143 overall (compensatory)
8. Fifth round: No. 146 overall
9. Fifth round: No. 161 (from Washington in 2015 trade for TE Derek Carrier)
10. Sixth round: No. 198 overall (from Baltimore in trade with C Jeremy Zuttah for No. 186)
11. Sixth round: No. 202 overall (pick acquired from Denver in 2015 trade for TE Vernon Davis)
12. Seventh round: No. 219 overall (pick acquired from Cleveland in 2015 trade for Andy Lee)