Alex Smith has signed a reworked, two-year contract that will allow him to compete for the 49ers' starting quarterback job this offseason. Terms of the contract were not announced, but it is significantly less than the nearly $10 million in base salary Smith was scheduled to earn this year.
Said 49ers General Manager Scot McCloughan in a press release: "We have reached an agreement with Alex and his agent to keep him as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. Alex expressed a deep interest to remain with the team and that feeling was mutual."
As the 2008 drew to a close, Smith said he was interested in returning to San Francisco because he felt an obligation to finish what he started. Smith was the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft, and he struggled during his rookie season. The 2006 season was better with Smith leading a second-half resurgence that included come-from-behind wins in Seattle and Denver. Smith posted career-highs that season, starting all 16 games, completing 257-of-442 passes for 2,890 yards with 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions
The following season, however, was a disaster. Smith's shoulder was separated early in Week Four when Seattle defensive lineman Rocky Bernard burst through the 49ers' offensive line untouched. Smith tried to play with the injury, but the attempt only led to a feud with then head-coach Mike Nolan. Smith had surgery at the end of the season to re-attach the shoulder. He suffered a small fracture in the shoulder before the start of the 2008 season and had surgery in late October to remove the offending piece of bone.
Smith, who recently returned from his honeymoon in the Maldives, is in good health and his arm is expected to return to normal. He is scheduled to take part in the 49ers' first minicamp this month and will challenge friend Shaun Hill for the starting role. Smith's throwing arm is not yet 100 percent back to normal but is strong enough to take part in the minicamp. Smith will take part in a conference call at 12:30 p.m. today.
Smith's signing likely slams the door on the team adding another free-agent quarterback, such as former 49er Jeff Garcia. The 49ers still could add a quarterback in the draft. ...
-- Matt Barrows