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.
SANTA CLARA – The 49ers already have three safeties selected within the top two rounds of the draft.
But as the organization has considered its options with the No. 2 overall pick, LSU safety Jamal Adams had been in the discussion. Adams recently visited the 49ers, where he and Eric Reid had a chance to catch up with each other.
Reid’s final season at LSU was 2013. The 49ers traded up to select him with the No. 18 overall pick. The 49ers drafted Jimmie Ward at the end of the first round in 2014, and Jaquiski Tartt was a second-round pick in 2015.
In the past 25 years, only two safeties -- Eric Berry (2010) and Sean Taylor (2004) – have been selected in the top five. Both were chosen with the No. 5 overall selection. Adams has a chance to go as early as No. 2 overall.
“I’m excited to see where he ends up. He could end up here. You know what I’m saying?” Reid said on Wednesday at the 49ers’ voluntary minicamp.
“He’s the best one in the draft. Someone will be very happy to have him, I’m sure.”
Adams (5 foot 11 ¾, 214 pounds) is considered more of a box safety. He recorded five interceptions in his 36-game college career, but Reid said he believes Adams can also play free safety.
“No doubt,” Reid said. “The kid can do it all. That’s why they got him projected to go where he is. I believe he could.”
In the 49ers’ new defense, which is based on Seattle’s scheme, Ward is getting a long look at free safety in the team’s minicamp. Ward started at cornerback last season.
After recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid has one interception over the past two seasons. He played 10 games last season before sustaining a season-ending with a torn biceps.
Reid said he is learning a new position but he believes playing closer to the line of scrimmage suits him. He is set to become a free agent at the end of the season as he plays this year with a salary of $5.676 million on the fifth-year option.
“I’m used to being on the back end,” Reid said. “I’m used to dealing with a lot more space. So, really, it’s the run game. And the run fits, knowing the gap schemes, the run (stunts) and knowing where the D-linemen are going to fit and filling the holes. That’s been the biggest difference for me.
“I like it. I’m a bigger safety in this league, so I think it’ll work for me.”
And what if the 49ers select Adams on Thursday evening?
”That’ll be interesting,” Reid said. “We’d have to battle it out. We’ll see how it goes.”
SANTA CLARA – Safety Eric Reid and linebacker Eli Harold, who joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem last season, will not continue the protest this season.
Reid said Wednesday they achieved their goal of bringing attention to racial inequality in the United States.
“When we started doing that, our goal was to open up the floor to conversation. I believe we’ve achieved that goal,” Reid said. “So now we just want to move forward and just partner with people that’s trying to make a change.
“We accomplished that goal. People talked about it. I think we raised a lot of awareness about issues in this country. And now it’s time to move on to just affecting change.”
Reid and Harold are back with the 49ers, while Kaepernick remains a free agent. The 49ers have expressed no interest in retaining Kaepernick after opting to sign free-agent quarterback Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, instead.
“I stay in touch with him,” Reid said of Kaepernick. “I’m rooting for him. Obviously, he isn’t on a team, yet, but I’m rooting for him but hopefully he gets that call after the draft.
“It’s surprising. You see some of the other quarterbacks that have been signed around the league and why he hasn’t been, it’s just unfortunate.”
When asked if thought Kaepernick was paying the price for his protest, Reid answered, “I think so. It’s unfortunate, it’s sad. People want to shy away from him because of media, PR reasons.
“You’re doing something to better the world. I mean, the guy got a plane sent to Somalia to help with the famine there. He’s been doing things that if it were anybody else in a different situation without the anthem (protest), they’d be praising him and giving him awards for it.”