Just like we always thought Jimmy and Al, BFFs forever.Alex Smith gave his situation careful thought, enjoyed his minute of making the 49ers uncomfortable, and signed the deal that binds him to the team as its starting quarterback until the next time Harbaughs wandering eye seizes upon a prize.Because thats the new nature of the relationship which is the same as the old nature of the relationship. Smith cashes in one more time, promised the chance to cement his relationship as The Guy You Like Just Enough To Wish He Was Someone Else.And Harbaugh can dream of what was and what could have been while he puts the happy face on what is.If you think about it, nobody ends up looking bad here. The 49ers did their due-est diligence and made a run at a guy they couldnt really pay for, and Smith didnt burn any bridges while waiting for events to reveal themselves.The one team that did get blown up here is Denver, and we mean that in a good way. They got Peyton Manning, they (in Shakespeares words) rid themselves of this turbulent priest in Tim Tebow, and suddenly look like not only the prohibitive favorite in the AFC West, but also a Super Bowl contender, if Las Vegas is to believed.But the 49ers, other than amusing us for the better part of a week with a few words and a bit of window shopping, are essentially unchanged. Smith is a bit more of a pure employee, and Harbaugh is less convincing as The Players Friend, but other than that, what was still is, and what will be remains open to interpretation.Thats the lesson of this week. As much fulminating as we did on the subject of the 49ers quarterback situation, we ended up where we pretty much suspected we would with Manning someone elses property, and Smith still Miss Congeniality.But heres the back end of the deal Colin Kaepernick.As Comrade Maiocco continues to say, Kaepernick is the 49ers idea of the quarterback of the future, which means that Smith just finishing looking ahead of him just in time to start looking behind him. He will begin as the starter because, well, because he should, but the question of leash length will become important if he does not hit the ground running at the same pace and gait he had last year.It means, essentially, that Alex Smiths dream of peace of mind in San Francisco is either over, or about to be. Whatever comfort he has derived from 2011 is not going to last all that much longer, even if he holds the job. He ends up after all this with Matt Flynns contract and Matt Hasselbecks security which is not the payoff he dreamed of when the season ended two months ago.But the payoff in the NFL is being day to day in a world that even Charles Darwin would find unsettling. Alex Smiths world is his head on a swivel, on the field, at practice, in the meetings, wherever 49er quarterbacks go to find out that they are going to be The Guy, Until The Guy Comes Around.
Under the 49ers’ new regime, the club has already invested more in the free-agent market than a year ago under then-general manager Trent Baalke.
Just a reminder: The free-agent signing period does not officially open until March 9.
The 49ers on Friday reached a contract agreement with veteran defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who is penciled into be a starter in the team’s new 4-3 base scheme under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
"As soon as Earl hit the open market, he became a priority for us to sign,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement released Saturday morning. “A man of high character, he represents everything we want to be as a football team. Earl is a tone-setter who plays the game with a tremendous passion and the effort necessary to win in this league. We believe those qualities are contagious and will help to make our team stronger. We look forward to the impact Earl will have on the field, in the locker room and in our community.”
It was the first significant move under Lynch, who also signed a player with NFL experience earlier in the week.
The 49ers also added cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year contract. Williams served as the Cleveland Browns’ nickel back for two seasons. The Browns released him before the start of last season and he was unable to play due to an ankle injury.
Mitchell was available to be signed before the start of the new league year because the Miami Dolphins released him last week in a move to save the team $4 million in cap space.
Mitchell took four free-agent visits and after wrapping up his tour with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, he and the 49ers quickly agreed on a four-year, $16 million contract that includes $5.5 million of money in the first year, according to a source.
Last year, Baalke did little to improve the roster for coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers, who finished 5-11 in Jim Tomsula's one season, dropped to 2-14. Just hours after the season concluded, the 49ers announced the firings of Baalke and Kelly.
The only veteran free-agent addition who stepped on the field for the 49ers last season was offensive lineman Zane Beadles. The 49ers signed Beadles in late-March to a three-year, $9.75 million contract with a $1.75 million signing bonus. Beadles had a good season for the 49ers, starting 12 games at left guard, two games at left tackle and the final two games at center.
The 49ers have already shown more willingness to be aggressive under Lynch’s leadership.
Mitchell, 29, is a seven-year veteran who began his NFL career from 2010 to ’13 with the Houston Texans. He was a rookie in Saleh’s final season as assistant linebackers coach in Houston.
Mitchell joins DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Quinton Dial on the 49ers defensive line. The 49ers view Mitchell as a high-energy player who bring good character to the locker room. The signing of Mitchell could be an indication the 49ers are moving on from Glenn Dorsey, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.
With 5.5 sacks in seven seasons, the 49ers do not figure to use Mitchell in passing situations. The club must try to bolster its pass rush in free agency or the draft. Last season, Buckner and Ahmad Brooks shared the team-lead with six sacks apiece. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch both led the way with 6.5 sacks.
The San Francisco 49ers agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Friday, CSNBayArea.com has learned.
Mitchell, 29, will earn $5.5 million in his first year with the 49ers.
The seven-year veteran played in nine games last season for the Dolphins. He recorded 17 total tackles.
Since entering the league in 2010 as a third-round draft pick with the Texans, Mitchell has appeared in 100 games between Houston and Miami, totaling 206 tackles. He has also recorded 5.5 sacks.
#49ers reach four-year, $16M deal with DT Earl Mitchell, per source. He receives $5.5M in first year.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) February 25, 2017