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Peyton Manning, Alex Smith & The 49ers Enter A Danger Zone

As the drama continues to swirl in the 49ers recent pursuit of QB Peyton Manning, the news is officially getting a bit surreal. 49ers free agent QB Alex Smith is now finding himself beginning a free agency tour that would not seem to have been in his plans when the 2011 season came to a close. Adam Schefter is reporting Smith is in Miami today to discuss the Dolphins QB situation as he begins his own free agency tour.

Now that Smith would appear to be officially checking out his options (assuming he hadn't fully started before), the dice have officially been cast. If you want to go with a poker metaphor, the 49ers really have to be all in at this point. They have officially entered a spot where they could conceivably not sign Peyton Manning, while also losing Alex Smith. Whatever your thoughts on Smith, being in a position where it is Colin Kaepernick or bust becomes a very tricky situation.

Other options remain for the 49ers, but they are limited at best. If Manning elected to sign with the Tennessee Titans, Matt Hasselbeck would likely be released. If the 49ers had also lost Alex Smith, that could open the door for them to bring in Hasselbeck as a short term measure. Beyond that, the free agent quarterback position is thin at best. I'm fairly certain nobody would be comfortable with Rex Grossman as quarterback. Or maybe you would, who knows.

Whatever the case, the 49ers have to tread carefully here. If they are comfortable with Colin Kaepernick as the 2012 starting QB, I suppose they might feel they have plenty of options. Otherwise, they are on the high wire without much of a safety net at this point. It makes for great drama, but there is no doubt that it will leave stomachs a little queasy.