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.

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills


Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

Aquan Boldin is looking for a new football home.

And the former 49ers wide receiver is visiting with the Bills on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Boldin started all 16 games with the Lions last season, recording 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.

From 2013 to 2015 with the 49ers, he racked up 237 receptions, 3030 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 years old in October.

Boldin entered the NFL as the 54th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan


Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.