Alex Smith

Which Free Agent QB will be Manning the 49ers next season?

By Scott Warfe

Earlier today, a source close to the 49ers intimated that the team has no interest in bringing a Manning (either Peyton, Eli, or Archie) to quarterback the 49ers offense. Current speculation is, according to the source, “meaningless, or should I say, ‘Manningless.’” The levity notwithstanding, such a statement speaks to the pathos of many 49ers fans. The fear is that without Manning, the position will indeed be man-less.

Fans cite Alex Smith’s performance during the NFC Championship as evidence of the 49ers Derridean-esque absence at quarterback. When asked to address the concerns, the source was quick to downplay such criticisms, noting that “Alex wasn’t anymore responsible for the loss than Eli was for the Giants victory.” “To argue such” he added, “is to commit a Post hoc fallacy of reasoning.”

Now, I cannot exactly give you the name of my source, but I can tell you that Aristotle thought very highly of it. All right, I’ll give you a hint: it likes to dress up as politicians for Halloween (last year, it was George W. Bush. Instant classic!). Still can’t guess? Fine. I’ll give you an anagram: giloc.

I won’t rehash the logic enumerated by BASG, but I will underscore some important points.

01. Here is a list of the 49ers big FA signings from the past 7 years (since Baalke joined the organization):

2005: N/A
2006: Jonas Jennings (never played a full 16 game season)
2007: Nate Clements (played all 16 games in 5 of first 6 seasons)
2008: Justin Smith (played all 16 games in 6 of first 7 seasons)
2009: N/A
2010: N/A
2011: N/A

The point is: the 49ers don’t really take risks on injured players (Jennings is the glaring anomaly). Sure, one can point to the 49ers signing Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner, both of whom have previously suffered season-ending injuries, as a sign that the 49ers are willing to accept the liability of such players. However, the risk for both Rogers and Whitner was limited for two reasons: 01) The guaranteed money for both players totals around $ 8 million, and 02) Neither were guaranteed to start.

In order to sign Manning the 49ers would have to: 01) Outbid the Cardinals, Redskins, and Jets (possibly others), and 02) Guarantee him a starting position. Thus, were the 49ers to sign Manning, they would not only be bucking their recent trend (which has proven successful), but they’d also be hedging their bets on a player who has a fused neck.

02. The signing of Manning would preclude Alex’s return. Though medical experts insist that Manning can resume his career without complications, the risk is too great, especially when considering the 49ers allowed QB hit every 4.6 attempts this season (2 attempts less than the 2011 Colts; 10 attempts less than the 2010 Colts). Granted, Manning could remedy some of these problems by getting rid of the ball quicker (as illustrated by the previous parenthetical information). But what happens when the offensive line suffers a lapse kin to the Baltimore game?

The simple truth: Alex Smith’s mobility won the 49ers games this season. Removing such mobility from the 49ers offense would place the team’s fortune squarely on the offensive line’s back and Manning’s fused vertebrae.

Logic says that such a bet would be dubious, at best. Still, it stands to reason that the 49ers will pursue a free agent quarterback to compete for the starting job. Find out who that is by clicking here.

In addition to blogging on, Scott has been featured on,, and Follow him on Twitter @ScottWarfe.

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