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2011 NFL Free Agents: Alex Smith Will Sign A Contract ASAP

Fooch's Note: Jim Harbaugh just started a press conference discussing the end of the lockout. Embedded video after the jump.

Now that the NFL Lockout is coming to a close (still feels good saying that!), it's rather fitting that one of the first bits of news revolves around much maligned 49ers QB Alex Smith. First off, speaking of Smith, James made an excellent point. When the NFL Network provides a Favre-watch update they play the Vikings horn. Every post revolving around Smith should start with something along those lines. I don't know what exactly, so I'm open to suggestions.

As would be expected, Alex Smith indicated he is prepared to sign a contract with the 49ers as soon as the lockout comes to an end. He's addressed the issue in the past but we haven't had the firm answer to date. It was pretty much an inevitable signing, but now that we'll actually have football to drive us crazy in the coming months, it's useful to hear this one more time.

"I'm not going to wait for anything," he said. "I'm excited for this to start ... waiting for that opportunity...I'm sure it'll be pretty quick. I'm sure it'll move fast. It's pretty well set in stone, I think."

What will be interesting is that according to the new league calendar he can't actually sign a contract until 3pm pacific on Friday. The 49ers are likely reporting to training camp on Thursday and if that's the case I'm curious to see how they handle Smith and all their free agents that first day. Maybe let them stand around and hang out? Or maybe the 49ers just keep them all away from the facility since some will be walking and you don't want playbook info spreading around the league

Jim Harbaugh Press Conference