Day 1 recap: Alex Smith free-agent talk muted

March 14, 2012, 12:50 pm
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For the first time since he was selected with the first overall pick of the 2005 draft, quarterback Alex Smith spent a day not committed to the 49ers.Smith remained unsigned Tuesday, the first day of free agency. And that rates as an upset, considering both sides seem to agree that they want a deal to get done. And over the weekend while taking part in a Kurt Warner charity event, Smith promised, "It will get done."An offer from the 49ers has been on the table for a while. On Monday, 49ers CEO Jed York said, "The ball's in his court."Clearly, the sides disagree on Smith's value in dollars, years or structure of the proposal. Otherwise, this deal would've been hammered out long ago.

RELATED: Jed York addresses Alex Smith contract status
Free agency began at 1 p.m. Tuesday, and Smith spent his first day in NFL limbo since the time seven years ago when he was uncertain if the 49ers would indeed make him the first pick in the 2005 draft.Sure, Smith remained unsigned for several months last spring and summer during the lockout, but he was always committed to the 49ers. Coach Jim Harbaugh gave him the playbook, and Harbaugh gave Smith's wife flowers after the couple experienced the birth of their first child.This offseason, it was Smith's turn to provide the clues that he's loyal to the 49ers. First, Smith went on stage in Indianapolis the night before the Super Bowl to make an acceptance speech on behalf of Harbaugh, who was named NFL Coach of the Year. Then, Smith caddied for Harbaugh during the first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.Everyone still expects the deal to get done, but it's more than a little curious why Smith has reached the free-agent market, forcing, the team's website, to remove his name from the team's official roster. Blake Costanzo was the 49ers' coaches choice as the team's special-teams candidate for the Pro Bowl last season. Costanzo came to the 49ers on the recommendation of special-teams coordinator Brad Seely a year ago, and he did not disappoint.
Costanzo, who is New Jersey through and through, showed up one day in early August to sign with the 49ers wearing a San Francisco Giants ballcap. From that point on, he was all-49ers.RELATED: Blake Costanzo headed to Bears
That's why it was surprising that general manager Trent Baalke decided against bringing him back. The 49ers want their special-teams players to be able to play defense, too, and the personnel department did not consider Costanzo as an option at inside linebacker, if he were needed behind Patrick Willis or NaVorro Bowman.Top backup Larry Grant is a restricted free agent, and he could leave if another team decides they want him to start. The 49ers re-signed Tavares Gooden to a one-year, minimum-level deal. Gooden started 12 games for Baltimore in 2009.RELATED: 49ers re-sign Gooden to one-year deal
And it wouldn't have taken a whole lot to retain Costanzo, either. He ended up agreeing to a two-year deal with the Chicago Bears worth a little under 2 million, including a 400,000 signing bonus, a league source said.
After signing cornerback Perrish Cox to a minimum-level deal early in the day and flirting extensively with free-agent cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Eric Wright, it appeared as if the 49ers had turned the page on Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers.RELATED: Cox promises 'from here on out, I'll show it'
But the attention the 49ers paid to others on the cornerback market ended up helping them get a four-year deal done with Rogers. The exact structure and terms are not known, but it was reported as being worth 29.3 million.The Dallas Cowboys are considered the prohibitive favorites to sign Carr, while Wright reached contract terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning. The 49ers begin Day 2 of free agency with an estimated 15 million in cap space -- taking a guess that Rogers' deal counts around 3 million in 2012.As reported on Tuesday, receiver Randy Moss signed a one-year deal that counts only 1.75 million against this year's cap. He received no guaranteed money, and another 750,000 is tied to game-by-game roster bonuses. Moss will earn 46,875 for every regular-season game he suits up for the 49ers.In essence, the 49ers get Moss for a six-month tryout. If the 49ers decide at the end of training camp that he does not fit with the team, the 49ers can cut him and they would not have paid Moss a penny.The 49ers aren't done looking at wide receivers, either. After Joshua Morgan left to sign with the Washington Redskins, the 49ers on Tuesday brought in Chaz Schilens (Raiders) and Brandon Lloyd (St. Louis) for visits. The first day of free agency was a quiet one for 49ers notable free agents Alex Smith, Adam Snyder and Ted Ginn.And, now, on to Day 2.