Although the 49ers have not made any sort of comment as to the reports that Alex Smith has re-signed with the team, we can probably be safe assuming the deal is done. The 49ers do not officially announce deals until a signed contract has been returned and they have received league approval. The same will hold true with Alex.
Now that this roller-coaster ride is more or less complete for the time-being, I find myself wondering if there were any lessons learned by the parties involved. Or maybe there was nothing to be learned from this whole process and it is just time to move on. I'd imagine five people will have five different opinions on the matter.
For Alex Smith, he completed the 2010 season plenty wary of coaches, and this process likely hasn't made him any less wary. None of us knows the true state of the Jim Harbaugh-Alex Smith relationship and to say we do is pure speculation. Alex could be angry at Coach Harbaugh. He could be understanding but a bit peeved. He could even be perfectly understanding of what went down, knowing how the business operates.
For the 49ers front office, if they did in fact initially go behind Alex's back, or there are any sort of hurt feelings involved, will the front office learn to handle things better? Although both men have been around football for many years, Baalke has been in this kind of leadership position for only two years and Coach Harbaugh has been an NFL head coach for a year.
We saw a cold-blooded efficiency to the plan and it looks like it will work out fine. The 49ers knew what kind of situation they had with Alex, they knew what their options were, and they pursued each avenue with calculation. Would it be wise for the front office to consider softening the edges a little bit in future dealings? My guess is no, but who knows how this will play out in the long run.
For now, all that matters is that Alex Smith would appear set to return to the 49ers. There may be lessons to be learned, or the front office might view this as a sign that their way works. Either way, both sides have plenty of time this offseason to clean up the relationship, if there is any significant damage to in fact clean up.