49ers QB options at a glance

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49ers QB options at a glance

Free-agent quarterback Alex Smith spent his Sunday with the Miami Dolphins, a team that swung and missed on Peyton Manning and took a called third strike on free-agent Matt Flynn.People around these parts have little interest in what's happening with the Dolphins. Except that if the Dolphins were to express aggressive interest in Smith, it could shape what the 49ers do this season at the quarterback position.The 49ers placed an offer on the table for Smith some time ago. Smith did not sign it. Then, the 49ers began their pursuit of Manning, who has not told any of the contending teams when they can expect a decision, a league source told CSNBayArea.com on Sunday.So if Smith were to go back to the 49ers with the intention of accepting the 49ers' three-year, 24 million contract, he would then be putting the ball in the 49ers' court. Does their offer to Smith still stand while Peyton Manning remains a possibility? The answer to that question is not known.The 49ers' options at quarterback are. . . --Complete the Smith contract. Using Matt Flynn's sparkling new three-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks as a measuring stick, the 49ers probably don't feel inclined to alter their offer to Smith. The 49ers and Smith can decide to put this mess behind them and move on with the 2012 season. The pursuit for Peyton would end at the exact moment Smith signs a multi-year extension. The 49ers aren't going to have two quarterbacks paid as starters. After all, Manning's contract is expected to reach 18 million to 23 million annually, a source said.RELATED: Alex Smith's career stats
--Wait for the Manning decision, and hope like heck he signs on to play for the 49ers. As previously reported here, Manning is working unilaterally on his decision. Agent Tom Condon, who also represents Smith, is not part of the process. A league source told CSNBayArea.com that Condon cannot be leading Smith in any direction based on Manning's mindset because Condon does not know which way Manning is leaning.RELATED: Peyton Manning's career stats
--The 49ers will hold the door open for Smith if Manning goes to Denver or Tennessee.--But if Smith signs quickly with the Dolphins (and Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports the sides are negotiating) and Manning goes elsewhere, the 49ers will have other options, too:1) If Manning signs with the Titans, the 49ers can go after veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, whom they thought they were going to sign a year ago. Then, Hasselbeck and Colin Kaepernick would compete for the starting job;RELATED: Matt Hasselbeck career stats
2) If Manning signs with the Broncos, the 49ers would likely sign Josh Johnson -- about the only quarterback left on the market. Then, Kaepernick and Johnson would compete for the job.

49ers, Raiders fans ready to accept Tom Brady as best QB ever?

49ers, Raiders fans ready to accept Tom Brady as best QB ever?

The Super Bowl is designed ostensibly to be a massive trade show with a football game stuck on the end of it, with the idea that the teams and their fan bases who don’t have a dog in the Sunday fight can still amuse themselves by making their own news – as long as it’s very low level and doesn’t steal thunder away from the real reason for the season.

The accumulation of money.

So it is that we must find reasons to care about a game between a team 2,473 miles away and a team 3,099 miles away. After all, what else is a Super Bowl party for?

Well, let’s ignore the obvious Bay Area topics like “Any news on the Raiders moving?” or “What will Kyle Shanahan say about the soul-eviscerating task he is about to undertake?” Instead, let’s ask a third.

Is the Bay Area’s football base ready to face the very real possibility that Tom Brady could become the area’s best-ever quarterback? Yes, better than Joe Montana and his four rings, and yes, better than Ken Stabler and his willingness to fight the power, and yes, better than Aaron Rodgers and Jim Plunkett and . . . well, fill in your favorite blank.

This one is hard for many folks to swallow because, other than the Switzerland of San Mateo (starting at Serra High School and radiating out to Highways 82, 101, 280 and Crystal Springs Road), Brady doesn't resonate here the way a normal favorite son would. He would have been a perfect Raider or 49er. He also would have been a perfect Cardinal or Golden Bear. He would have been part of something that was, for lack of a better term, ours.

Instead, he did his work for geographically evil empires far to the east, and did it obnoxiously well. He went where he was wanted (Michigan) and where he was drafted (New England), grafted onto a coach (Bill Belichick) who could find the best outlets for his gifts as Montana and Stabler and Plunkett and Rodgers did, and has helped construct a ring factory to rival Montana’s and Terry Bradshaw's and dwarf everyone else’s.

And if he can guide these Patriots to a victory in 13 days over the Atlanta Falcons, he will have more rings than any other quarterback ever, and will almost surely reduce the best-ever debate to ash.

Argue all you want, you amateur Spicers, but facts sometimes beat sentiment, prejudice or child-based idolatry, and there is no objective argument a person can make to claim that Brady is merely equal, let alone inferior, to any of the others we have mentioned.

That is, if you’re trying to stack his baggage as a fort against the data.

His detractors will link him to the evils of the Patriot empire (commanding technology, skullduggery and the very air we use to breathe to circumvent the natural order of fair play, honor and dignity, or some equivalent nonsense), or dismiss him, Montana-style, as merely the product of the greatest coach of the age (well, name a great quarterback who didn’t have a great coach, or vice versa). You could even hold his choice of wives against him (which seems even pettier than normal fandom) or his choice of candidates against him (so far, it’s hard to see a countervailing argument here, though it’s only been four days out of an expected 1,461).

But the numbers and jewelry and the raw football data argue more convincingly for Brady than for anyone else – if you’re interested in settling rather than prolonging an argument.

That last part is the key, though, because once engaged, arguments are hard to kill. The development of the alternative-facts movement renders data and logic less important than the depressingly more fashionable “Well I say it’s this instead of that, I’m not changing my mind no matter what you say and I’d rather remain ignorant than consider another idea. Ya wanna fight?”

Now all this becomes moot if Atlanta wins, mostly because nobody is going to advance the idea that Matt Ryan is the best quarterback of all time. Then the arguments remain sprightly and energetic and “my facts v. your facts,” and everyone goes home drunk and satisfied that you didn't annoy the hell out of the other patrons.

But if Brady wins, the argument becomes sullen and angry and unpleasant and “Well I say it’s this instead of that, I’m not changing my mind no matter what you say and I’d rather remain ignorant than consider another idea. Ya wanna fight?” Just to name one.

And frankly, we're already getting a gutload of that as it is.

Report: Colts request permission to interview Paton

Report: Colts request permission to interview Paton

George Paton, one of the remaining possibilities for the 49ers’ general manager position, is reportedly on the Indianapolis Colts’ list of candidates to fill their vacancy, too.

The Colts have requested permission to speak with Paton, the assistant general manager of the Minnesota Vikings, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported on Monday.

Paton is scheduled for a second interview with the 49ers on Friday, along with Atlanta offensive coordinator and San Francisco’s presumptive head coach, in Atlanta.

The Colts also requested permission to interview Seattle co-directors of player personnel Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, USA Today reported. Kirchern and Fitterer also interviewed with the 49ers. Kirchner pulled his name from consideration, while the 49ers informed Fitterer he would not be asked back for a second interview.

The Colts fired general manager Ryan Grigson on Saturday. Owner Jim Irsay said Indianapolis’ vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III would be a candidate. The 49ers also interviewed Raye, who was informed he would not be included in a second round of interviews.

Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough is the other known candidate for the 49ers’ general manager position that opened when the firing of Trent Baalke was announced at the conclusion of the team’s 2-14 season.