Alex Smith

Peyton Manning to the 49ers? Not worth it

On Jan. 14, Ted Robinson ordered everyone listening to “never doubt Alex Smith again.” On Jan. 22, despite the 49ers’ play-by-play announcer’s instructions, the doubts were back. Such is life for any quarterback who wears the red and gold. Super Bowl or bust, and that’s never going to change.

This isn’t to say Smith’s the epitome of quarterback perfection, but he led a team that won 14 games. While the defense and special teams carried them, Smith also saved the 49ers’ bacon on numerous occasions at the ends of games.

Several quarterbacks in the league (not just the so-called “elite” ones) can seemingly thread the needle on 15-yard third down passes at will, but make frequent errors during crisis situations that don’t show up on your fantasy team’s scoresheet. Smith’s shortcomings are more in your face — in the form of passes that hit the hands of opposing defensive linemen or land at the feet of frustrated receivers. Still, Smith played nearly turnover-free football in 2011 and has mobility…

The question before the season is the same today for Alex skeptics: how do you get a better quarterback in a league that probably only features about a half dozen — 10 at the absolute most — that fit that description? With Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts looking likelier and likelier to part ways in a month and a half, the Niners are considered a plausible (and desirable!) destination. On the surface, a healthy Manning would make the 49ers a better team. If there’s a guy who can complete long passes on third down who isn’t entrenched as the starter somewhere else in 2012, it’s Manning.

But at what cost? 

— Manning clearly, like almost all of us, likes his money — or did you think he did all those commercials for free?

— Smith isn’t going to be all that expensive relative to other starting quarterbacks. A deal in the 2-3 years, $8-$11 million per year range should suffice.

— With the Jets, Dolphins and Cardinals probably interested in Manning (along with several other teams if he indeed becomes available), Manning is going to get more than $10 million per year, even as a 36-year-old with a neck that’s made out of recycled pieces of Mark DeRosa’s wrist and Stephen Curry’s ankle.

— With this group of free agent wide receivers set to become available (seriously, have you seen this list?) would the 49ers rather have Smith and a new No. 1 or Manning throwing to the current group of wideouts plus a couple middle-of-the-road free agent WRs and a rookie or two? The 49ers have some cap room but they also have several free agents from their 2011 roster they’ll want to bring back. Manning instead of Smith could be the difference between signing Joshua Morgan and Marcus Colston or signing Joshua Morgan and Ted Ginn.

— Smith’s playoff experience illuminated once again how, for the most part, these guys are evaluated on a game-to-game basis. Manning could play incredible football for a week or 10, but if that neck flares up again that could be it. Are the 49ers ready to hand Colin Kaepernick the keys to an offense designed for Manning?

— Multiple neck surgeries.

— Did I mention Manning’s an injury risk?

The moral of the 2011 off-season, and one other lesson

— Remember when 49ers fans were complaining more about the inactivity of their front office than San Francisco Giants fans? “WE NEED TALENT, SIGN SOME FREE AGENTS,” cried many. The Niners were patient, waited out the market and brought in several players who were absolute gems. Diving headlong into the Peyton Manning Auction doesn’t seem like Trent Baalke’s M.O.

— Think the Colts wish they would’ve let Manning go before the 2011 season? Why is he so much more valuable now? He’s a great passer but he’s an absolute statue, and he’ll have to get used to a new offensive line (which in the Niners’ case allowed 44 sacks during the 2011 regular season).

Throw in this point from Mike Florio from the article I linked above …

But here’s where it gets tricky for the 49ers.  With starting quarterback Alex Smith due to be a free agent on March 13 and the Colts not forced to make a decision on Manning until March 8, the 49ers could lose Smith if they don’t move quickly on Manning, who may not be fully healthy at that point.

… and this seem even less like a move the 49ers would make. A lot of people still angry about the NFC Championship Game would probably disagree with me on this, but I’m cool with that.

 

15 Comments

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15 Comments on "Peyton Manning to the 49ers? Not worth it"

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topraman
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topraman

It would be beneficial for the Niners to pay back the dolphins by jacking up the bidding for Manning…much like a poker hand. Make them over pay for him so we can focus on the true talent they cant afford.
They tried doing this with our coach by flying to California on a plane full of money.

Greg
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Greg

A 36 year old who is one nasty sack away from retirement? Nah. Give me Goldson/Rogers/FA WR instead. This team is not far from their 6th ring. I know the offense has its flaws, but an entire offseason with continuity and an extra OL & WR sure won’t hurt.

T
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T

It should be WRs. I would guess that the 49ers would not resign Ginn or Morgan as WR. So, the 49ers would need several WRs this offseason. The 49ers might also look at a TE if Walker’s health appears to be a problem.

Why is everyone thinking that Alex Smith should get $10million/year? I think that is way too much for a guy with one playoff appearance in 6 seasons. I think the 49ers need to take a long look at Kapernack.

Stan
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Stan

Jed is far too cheap. Remember-he low balled Harbaugh. If Harbaugh took the highest bidder he would be coaching the Dolphins. Only Harbaughs wish to follow in Walsh’s footsteps kept Jed from being the village dunce again. Jed just got lucky-as he has being being born into wealth..and made a president of a NFL team.

JT
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JT

Harbaugh has one of the best coaching contracts in the whole league. Jed was not cheap. 5 years / 25 million I believe it was.

Kev
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Kev

If he wanted the money and to coach in the NFL, the Dolphins would of been his choice but he knew the 49ers were built to win and lets compare the QB’s. Henne or Moore to Smith, not much of a difference. The 49ers D was hands down carrying them, If not for a late surge by Moore and Reggie Bush, they’d be thinking about Andrew Luck or RG3.

John
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John

The Niners have an ELITE defense and elite special teams as long as the backup punt returner doesn’t need to play. A proven winner like Manning could lead us to a Superbowl victory or two right away. Why should fans accept Alex when he plays like he did against the Giants far more frequently then the way he did against the Saints.

Licky
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Licky
As much as it pains me to say it, I think Alex deserves another year. True, he has glaring flaws that will probably never be fixed, but with the 49ers’ offensive line and receiving core, it’s hard for me to be confident that Peyton Manning would survive a full season. Then again, how long will this defense stay together? Is now the time to go “all-in”? Under the Debartolo/Policy regime I am 98% confident they would aggressively pursue Manning, if in the same position. But (no pun intended) Debartolo was known to make a few big bets in his time,… Read more »
Jesse
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Jesse

Last time I checked the 49ers offensive line is going to be dominating next season.

JT
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JT

It’s easy for fans to get on Alex Smith, but he had no reliable receivers. With the Giants keying in on VD, it’s a miracle he even got those 2 TDs. Crabtree absolutely failed against the Saints….with 3 dropped balls in key situations, no wonder Smith didn’t have confidence in him this last game. Give the guy a Desean Jackson to spread the field and then see what happens when he has VD, Crabtree, Morgan, and DJack. A lot of those guys will be single covered, that’s for sure.

T
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T

Morgan and Desean Jackson are both free agents. Not sure if the 49ers will pursue either or both guys

Ken
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Ken
I agree, they need to get Peyton Manning. Alex Smith had a good year, but there are many QB’s with more talent than he has. Manning is a once in a life-time QB, you don’t get a chance like this very often. If a team plans on really winning a Super Bowl then you have to have a top level QB, just look at recent history. If Alex is willing to take less money and back Peyton up then I’d keep him, but that’s the only way I’d keep Alex. I’d trade him now while his stock is up and… Read more »
Kev
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Kev

Health and cost will ultimately decide. We need to re-sign our guys and add a big time #1 receiver before even considering Manning.

MoragaJohn
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MoragaJohn
Here’s a perspective that I think ought to have some traction. The fact is Peyton has a very very very serious issue… the vertebras in his neck… and from what I gather, has caused some impingement on his nerves that has further caused him to loose some functionality in his arms and upper torso that has not fully returned after several surgeries. There is a real risk that taking any kind of trauma to his head or neck could further exacerbate this issue and permanently render him paralyzed. I just ask this question from a humanitarian perspective… how would you… Read more »
Kev
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Kev

It will ultimately go down to 2 factors:
Health and Money. If he’s 100% healthy and willing to take a performance contract, almost every team will go after him. Alex Smith would be cheaper but yes, I’d take Alex Smith, Josh Morgan and either Colston/Jackson/Wayne/Bowe.

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