The Alex Smith-49ers union will continue for at least another season.The agreement, first reported by the NFL Network's Michael Lombardi, came more than a week into the free-agent signing period and included an "ironing-out" session with coach Jim Harbaugh after Peyton Manning spurned the 49ers on Monday to sign with the Denver Broncos.But, in the end, Smith is back with the 49ers -- just as everyone around the NFL thought would happen all along.Smith's return to the 49ers had its share of drama, though. Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman secretly traveled to Duke University in Durham, N.C., on March 13 to watch Manning throw."When the two of us started to talk, I very easily could have seen myself being a 49er," Manning said. "Thats why it was so hard."In the meantime, Smith took the first free-agent visit of his career on Sunday, meeting with Miami Dolphins coaches and team officials. But in the end, Smith decided -- despite some hard feelings -- that the 49ers offered him the best opportunity.Then, the 49ers waited for Manning to make a decision. And once Manning informed the 49ers of his decision, Smith found his old job waiting for him. Smith considered the 49ers' first and final contract proposal a low-ball offer."We have a contract on the table and it's up to him," 49ers CEO Jed York said on Monday. "We'd like for him (Alex Smith) to be here, and we'll see where it goes."Harbaugh was seen leaving the 49ers' team offices mid-day Monday, en route to a suspected meeting with Smith.Although not satisfied with the contract terms, Smith is back with the 49ers after enjoying his best NFL season under the direction of Harbaugh, Roman and quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst.The 49ers won the NFC West with a 13-3 record and reached the NFC championship game with Smith at quarterback.Smith's efficient play enabled the 49ers to tie the 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.In two playoff games, Smith attempted another 68 passes without throwing an interception.Smith's best performance of the season came in the playoffs when he led the 49ers on two late-fourth quarter touchdown drives in a remarkable 36-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints in an NFC divisional-round game at Candlestick Park.It was the sixth time Smith led the 49ers to a fourth-quarter comeback victory on the season. Four of those come-from-behind wins took place on the road, tying the franchise record that Joe Montana set in 1989.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.But the sides did not immediately hammer out a contract extension because the 49ers were reluctant to make a commitment in years and money that would lock him in as the starter for multiple seasons.The 49ers traded up to the No. 36 overall spot in the 2011 draft to choose Colin Kaepernick, and the 49ers wanted to keep the door open for Kaepernick to take over the starting job from Smith.Kaepernick has been working out daily at the 49ers' practice facility. On Monday, Kaepernick declined comment, saying only that he's "just working."Harbaugh believes in creating competition at all positions. And Kaepernick appears to have an opportunity to convince the coaching staff at some point in the near future that he gives the 49ers their best chance at success.Smith arrived with the 49ers in 2005 as the No. 1 overall pick. He signed a six-year, 49.5 million contract. But Smith agreed to a sizable pay cut after his fourth season. He ended up collecting 31.5 million in his first six seasons.Following the 2010 season, Smith admittedly was set to finally leave the 49ers. But soon after Harbaugh was hired to a five-year, 25 million contract, the new coach convinced Smith to stick around.During the NFL lockout, Smith took on a leadership role as he organized the "Camp Alex" workouts at San Jose State, though he was not officially under contract. The day the lockout lifted, Smith signed a one-year, 4 million contract. He maxed out his incentive package with another 2.5 million.Smith posted the best season of his career with a 61.4 completion rate, 3,144 yards passing with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions, and a passer rating of 90.7.
SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are expected to replenish their linebacker to help the team get through upcoming practices and their final three exhibition games.
The 49ers on Wednesday created two roster spots to sign replacements, as the team designated linebackers Donavin Newsom and Jayson DiManche as waived/injured.
General manager John Lynch said the designation was a formality for Newsom, who will revert back to the 49ers after clearing waivers. Newsom will remain under contract to the 49ers after going on injured reserve.
“He’s doing better each day,” Lynch said. “We’re going to put him on injured reserve. It will come across the wire procedurally as a waived-injured, but he’s going to be on injured reserve. And talking with our doctors, he got great care up here at Stanford. It’s the best thing for the kid. Give him time to really get right. So, (I) had a good talk with him this morning.”
Newsom, an undrafted rookie from Colorado, sustained a serious concussion on Aug. 8 and was taken by ambulance off the practice field to Stanford Hospital. He spent two nights in the hospital as a precaution.
DiManche was signed last week and participated in seven plays on defense and 15 on special teams before sustaining a hamstring injury in the 49ers’ exhibition opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Newly signed linebacker Sean Porter sustained a quadriceps injury in the game against the Chiefs and has also not been available to practice.
Von Miller has 73.5 sacks to his name over six seasons in the NFL. He's a five-time Prow Bowl linebacker, three-time All-Pro, Super Bowl champion, and Super Bowl MVP.
Trent Brown has played 21 games in two NFL seasons for the 49ers, 18 of them as starts. Despite his little time in the NFL and lack of honors, the Broncos' defensive star sees San Francisco's young offensive lineman as the best in the game at his position.
“He’s the best right tackle in the National Football League,” Miller said to the San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday after the first of two joint practices with the 49ers. “And he may even be a top-five tackle, period, in the National Football League. There’s not another tackle who’s that tall, that big and can move he way he moves.”
Brown, at 24 years old and standing 6-foot-8 while weighing 355 pounds, was the only offensive lineman invited to Miller's "Pass Rush Summit" at Stanford in June. Miller says he invited Brown so he could gain more knowledge, but also added, "from my point of view, we could get it (more knowledge) from a premier-offensive-tackle point of view.”
The two went up against each other in the trenches Wednesday in Santa Clara. After Brown held his own, Miller poured on the praise, but he made it clear how the young offensive lineman's future is all up to himself. Brown holds the keys to his potential.
"He’ll be as good as he wants to be," Miller said. "When he’s on, there’s not another tackle in the National Football League that’s as good as him."
Miller also made a bold prediction. "He’s going to have one of the biggest (contracts) for an offensive lineman."
Brown's rookie deal ends after the 2018 season.