Smith, 49ers relationship can be mended


Smith, 49ers relationship can be mended

It was a relationship built on trust and loyalty.Now, quarterback Alex Smith has reason to feel jilted. The 49ers came in on the low end of a three-year offer and then moved quickly to attract Peyton Manning to replace him.MAIOCCO: Manning to Broncos; 49ers back to Smith as top option
Coach Jim Harbaugh's relationship with Smith might not be impacted, as long as Smith's discontent is directed more at general manager Trent Baalke, as a source close to Smith intimated Monday morning to chose the Denver Broncos over the 49ers and Tennessee Titans. Now, Smith returns to being the 49ers' top target in free agency.It's not a perfect situation, but the damage is not irreparable.Harbaugh and Smith built a nice rapport over the past 14 months. That might not change, as long as he remains the good cop to Baalke's role as bad cop.Baalke, who heads the draft, pulled the trigger last April on a draft-day trade that enabled the 49ers to move up to select Colin Kaepernick with the No. 36 pick in the draft.Because the 49ers want to leave the door open for Kaepernick to take over at some point in the near future, the 49ers presented Smith with the kind of contract offer -- three years, 24 million -- that would make it easy to make a quarterback switch in the near future.So, now, the question becomes: Which organization gives Smith his best chance?The Miami Dolphins hosted Smith on a free-agent visit Sunday. The Dolphins aren't going to offer Smith much more than the 49ers. And Smith would compete with Matt Moore and a possible rookie addition. The Dolphins hold the No. 8 overall pick.Meanwhile, Smith would come in as the presumptive 49ers starter ahead of Kaepernick. On the surface, the 49ers still offer Smith his best opportunity to start on a winning team in 2012.

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

PHOENIX – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he does not believe quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being “blackballed” in his attempt to continue his career.

“I haven’t heard that from our clubs in any way that that’s an issue,” Goodell said during his press conference to conclude the NFL owners meetings.

“My experience in 35 years is that our clubs make independent evaluations of players. They work hard to try to improve their teams. But if they think a player can help improve their team, they’re going to do that.”

Kaepernick remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his 49ers contract earlier this month. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman this week was asked on ESPN’s "First Take" whether he felt Kaepernick was being blackballed.

"I'm sure he is," Sherman answered. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand."

General manager John Lynch on Tuesday said the 49ers have not had any contact with Kaepernick since he and coach Kyle Shanahan met with Kaepernick on Feb. 22 in Santa Clara. The 49ers signed free-agent quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, 29, created a controversy last season when he opted to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States. Kaepernick has decided to stand for the national anthem this season.

Earlier in the day, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was “stupid” and “intellectually lazy” to think teams have colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the league. Last week, former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, said Kaepernick is still an outstanding player and can win championships.

“I absolutely think he’s going to get signed,” John Harbaugh said. “I agree with Jim. He can win games for people.”


49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

PHOENIX – John Lynch’s draft preparation as a first-year NFL general manager prompted him to make a phone call Monday to Jim Harbaugh.

“I talked to an old 49ers coach yesterday,” Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings. “He was great. He has a lot of players who are draftable. (He) gave me a lot of great information, and it was entertaining, as it always is with Jim.

“He just said, ‘Fired up for you, man,’ then we started talking about his players. He had to go to a meeting and I had to go to a meeting, so it was quick.”

Before Lynch could quiz Harbaugh about some of the Wolverines’ draft-eligible prospects, Harbaugh had a brief chance to catch up with his brother, John, the Baltimore Ravens head coach.

“It was fun because right when we called, his brother was right there,” Lynch said.

“So John came over and before I could get on the phone, John and Jim were talking. I said, ‘Hey, you’re cutting into my time, give me the phone.’ We had a good time.”

Michigan’s top prospects are safety Jabrill Peppers, who won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most-versatile player, and edge rusher Taco Charlton.

Lynch said he does not ask “lazy questions” of any college coach about his former players. Instead, he’s looking at specifics, such as what position a player is better suited to play at the NFL level.

Harbaugh, who was let go after the 49ers' 8-8 season of 2014, enters his third season at his alma mater after two seasons with 10-3 records.