49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

May 4, 2007
Stakes increase for Smiley

It turns out the Broncos, Bears, Seahawks and Ravens all called about guard Justin Smiley on draft day, but were scared off by the 49ers' trade demand - a second-round pick.

Smiley said the 49ers had given his agent, Pat Dye, permission to shop Smiley around in the weeks leading up to the draft. Teams showed interest in the 25-year-old guard but didn't want to give up a second-round pick and face the possibility of not being able to re-sign Smiley, who is in the final year of his contract, next March.

That's the situation the 49ers find themselves in.

They made what turned out to be a modest contract proposal in Week 8 last season. Smiley's counter offer showed the two sides were far apart. Dye advised Smiley to hold off signing anything until the offseason, and it turned out to be a smart move.

Guards were in high demand during free agency with even middling players like Derrick Dockery -- $18 million guaranteed -- being rewarded with lucrative contracts. Suddenly Smiley's counter offer didn't look so absurd to the 49ers, but Smiley and Dye weren't interested in signing anymore.

"Things had changed and the stakes had gotten a little higher," Smiley said.

Smiley, who stands to be one of the top free agents at his position in March, said the two sides might continue to trade numbers this spring, but that he doesn't want any distractions when the summer rolls around.

"Once training camp starts, all bets are off," he said. "I don't want to talk about it anymore."



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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