No Honor Among ... Football Players And Football Teams? 49ers Don't Owe Alex Smith

I'm really confused by a lot of things some people are saying. There's folks who suggest that the San Francisco 49ers are doing Alex Smith dirty in their pursuit of Peyton Manning, and others who are suggesting that we, as fans and the 49ers as an organization owe a debt of gratitude to Smith. That's a really funny way of looking at things, if you ask me. How much do we "owe", exactly? The guy played with us for seven years and only had a single good year out of it, and even then it was more Trent Dilfer than Joe Montana, so what's the point?

That's not to say that I would be unhappy with Smith re-signing. In fact, I would be pretty darn overjoyed that the guy will have continuity in a system that works and the opportunity to build on what happened in 2011. If he goes, it'll be weird to see him in another uniform, to be sure, but I'm not going to be thoroughly upset about it.

More than that, I'm not going to think the 49ers did him wrong by finding an upgrade. Jim Harbaugh has said that no single person on the roster is guaranteed his job. Most coaches subscribe to that line of thinking, and I think it's a good one. Saying that Alex "is our guy" is not saying "is our guy at any contract number for any number of years" and it certainly has a little asterisk there.

What's that asterisk say? "Until he's not." That's how it works in the NFL - he's our guy until he's not. It's always been that way. Where's the outrage over Josh Morgan going to Washington after both he and the 49ers expressed a ton of interest over him coming back? There is none - because this is a business and that's how this works.

Look, I don't care who had what deal available and who didn't like it, thus creating all of this. This is a business, and Alex is smart enough to know that. The only thing that Alex has a claim to that I don't like the sound of is the business conducted by his agent, Tom Condon. His actions don't sit right with me - and I don't even know what they are. But other than that - these are all grown men, this is a business, and Alex Smith is certainly not Joe Montana. I hope he comes back, but I also hope the 49ers don't budge on three years. Hell, I'd have preferred two.

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