I know we're the Bay Area Sports Journal, and will talk everything Bay Area sports, but with no Northern California team relevant in the NCAA tourney, we should re-name this 49ers Madness month here at 'The Journal in subsequent years! If this latest move goes through though, 49er talk should mellow down for the time being and we can move start spreading our focus back around to the different teams in Northern California, but for another post at least, it's all 49ers, though we do have an Oakland A's note at the end!
Well, the hectic weekend that had the 49ers strongly pursuing future Hall-of-Fame QB, Peyton Manning, came to an end with Manning deciding to go play for his childhood idol John Elway and the Denver Broncos. The 49ers then immediately turned their focus back to Alex Smith, but Smith was in Florida vising with the Dolphins, so they had to wait that out and hope Alex didn't sign a deal before getting on the plane and heading back to California. However, with the Dolphins recent signing of David Garrard, and Seattle inking Matt Flynn, there really aren't any teams left looking for a starting quarterback, or at least any that have expressed interest in Alex Smith except the 49ers. And, just as everybody anticipated, Smith and the 49ers are in the final stages of drawing up a contract believed to be in the close to the deal that the 49ers had on the table for Smith since the start of Free Agency (3 years/$24 million). The 49ers may add a few extra million in guaranteed dough to help Smith get over the fact the team would have preffered Manning to him in they had their choice. Still Smith shouldn't feel too bad at all, I mean, how could you if your team offers you a deal, you don't sign it and they express interest in an all-time great at the position? Just as I expected, it seems like any hurt feelings were short-lived for Smith, especially after hearing the supposed uproar from Dolphin fans in Miami after the Dolphins had him in for the visit!
Some people also are saying that the Dolphins choose to sign David Garrard over Smith, but that's a deal in totally different context. I guarantee you, if the Dolphins could have had Smith for what they're going to pay Garrard, they would have chosen Smith without batting an eye, but fact is, Smith had a 3 year offer on the table and probably wouldn't have settled for anything less. So, at least 49er fans who thought Smith would leave the team in spite, can breath a lot easier Tuesday, as they now know #11 will be back for a few more seasons to throw to the new, upgraded wide receiving core. That's one good thing about this deal getting done now. This will allow Smith to go through all mini-camps and what not with the team now, and can start building his rapport with newcomers Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and possibly others. The 49ers are still said to be in the hunt for free agent wideouts, as there are a ton of them, and may be looking for a slot-type, kick-returning speed guy, like Ginn was, but maybe more of a threat at wideout. Two guys who may fit that bill is former Falcon Harry Douglas and Bronco Eddie Royal. Both are better receivers than Ginn, and Royal is just as effective a returner. Douglas hasn't returned in a few years, but has filled that role plenty in his career. Either player would be a nice upgrade to the offense and special teams, especially with Ginn on his way out! One area the 49ers were so good at was special teams and Ginn was big there, they have to replace that with someone of quality!
A's Note: I also wanted to beak some big A's news as well, as they announced that Cuban phenom Yeonis Cespedes will not only be on the opening day Roster when the A's open up in Japan, but he'll be their starting center fielder, in an odd move that moves gold-glover Coco Crisp to left field. It's a move that has apparently upset Crisp and one that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I mean, if you want to start Cespedes right away, I get it, but putting him in center when you have Crisp just doesn't make any sense to me, especially when this guy projects out as a corner outfielder. Should be interesting to see how that one shakes out for Oakland, I know I'll be watching with anticipation on opening day to see how the kid does as he and Jemile Weeks are really the only two reasons to even watch the A's!