Well, what was just a "what if" thought a few ago when Peyton Manning was released from the Colts has all the sudden become a very real possibility. The 49ers brass, including Coach Harbough, trekked across country Tuesday to watch Peyton throw and the 49ers apparently followed that up by sending the medical staff to do a physical on the future MVP.
This is a tremendous turn of events, as Manning has narrowed his list of potential suitors to 3, being the 49ers, Titans and Broncos. Now, I said back when he was released, as good a seasons Alex Smith had, I would jump at the opportunity to bring in Manning (Just looks right in that red uni in that picture), without hesitation if he's strong and healthy, which he apparently is. A healthy Manning turns the 49ers into a sure-fire playoff team again and quite possibly the NFC favorites, that's what kind of impact he could potentially have to this team, which is why the fact he's strongly considering San Francisco should be extremely appealing to 49ers fans. Now, the team that I've been thinking Manning would wind up with because of John Elway's influence, the Denver Broncos, have apparently offered Peyton a gigantic contract worth roughly $14M per year for 5 seasons. It comes down to two things if you ask me. If Peyton wants his best shot at winning some more Super Bowls before his window closes, he'd be wise in choosing San Francisco. They have a defense that would blow any defense he ever had supporting him in Indy during his career away, and a sturdy running game he can count on week in and week out, unlike the inconsistent Joseph Addai. The one area where the 49ers are still a bit limited though, is at wideout, but they just added Randy Moss, and if Manning were to come aboard, he may come with his dependable target from his days in Indy, Reggie Wayne. However, Peyton has been turning borderline NFL receivers into studs in Indy for years (a la Austin Collie, Anthony Gonzalez ect.....).
Now, while this Manning extravaganza carries on, which it most likely will for a few more days until he makes a decision, it makes one wonder what is going through the mind of Alex Smith. Now that free agency is open, Smith is officially unrestricted and free to sign with whoever he chooses, whenever he chooses. One team said to have some interest in Smith are the Seattle Seahawks, and that move could appeal to Smith who's spent his whole life and career on the West Coast. The 49ers have to be a tad concerned in the back of their mind that if they strikeout on Manning, and Smith bolts for somewhere else after seeing the 49ers pursuance of Manning. With that in mind, it may not be a bad idea to try and work a deal for fringe-starting QB right now like a Josh Johnson or Chad Henne, just in case worse came to worst and they lose out on both their targets. Another option, if Smith and Manning aren't, and probably the top option would be Kyle Orton, who would probably succeed in the 49ers system and is a guy I was actually hoping they'd add last season as an experienced backup to Alex.