According to various sources across the league, Peyton Manning will decide which team he will be playing for early next week.
Everyone thought Smith would be returning, but I believe Harbaugh and Baalke knew they wanted Manning all along. They did the workout SECRETLY because they didn't want other teams to know they were actually in the hunt for Manning (potentially entering a bidding war). Basically, the 49ers hid their interest in Manning through publicly intending to re-sign Smith.
With the addition of Moss and Manningham, the 49ers added some much-needed fire-power to their below-par passing attack. Baalke and Harbaugh know with the schedule in 2012 and the league becoming more of a passing league they need a QB that can win them games throwing 300 yards and 2-3 TDs week in week out. (Not suggesting Smith isn't capable, but we know Manning can.)
Why Manning will join:
- Instant Super Bowl contenders
Manning knows his playing days are nearly over, however, he can still play at high level for another 2-3 years. An established run game, a play-maker at tight end, a solid group of receivers and ultimately an elite defense, the 49ers give Manning the best chance to win another ring (or perhaps a few more).
Benefit of Manning joining:
Baalke and Harbaugh rate Kaepernick very highly. With Manning at the helm for 2-3 years, Kaepernick under his wings, when Manning retires, Kaepernick will be ready to start. This is a scenario Baalke and Harbaugh would love to see.
Manning + 49er defense = Championships?