Not sure if this has been covered on the boards yet, but I heard this on the radio in some form and I have expanded on it below (I'm not trying to take credit for the idea in the first place):
Alex Smith is Harbaugh's secret weapon. How you may ask? This is how:
Harbaugh trusts Alex Smith: He gave him boxes with copies of the playbook when the lockout was lifted briefly. Entrusting Alex to run "Camp Alex" and teach the players the plays as extension of himself was an amazing tactic. Alex runs the show for Harbaugh and in return is gaining the respect and experience one needs to be a successful QB in the league. [Note that there is no way he runs off with a copy to sell to the highest bidder. It would end his playing career that very second]
Alex Smith trusts Harbaugh: By taking on the responsibility to be a "player coach" Alex is trusting Harbaugh to resign him. Alex has no guarantees, yet he is still doing this and offering to help pay to get rookies there to buy into the system. He will make more after this lockout with the 49ers than any other team for running the camp.
So what happens when the lockout is over? We won't really know, but I can assure you that Caps is taking this seriously. He wants the starting job and I think that Harbaugh wouldn't hesitate to give it to him if he shows that he can handle it. So whether or not Alex is our starting QB come opening day, it won't matter- Alex Smith will already have made his biggest contribution to the 49ers in his career and will be worth whatever contract he gets (I'm assuming it will be a one year deal too).
What do you guys think?