49ers hedging their bets on Alex Smith

Alex Smith wants a five-year contract, but the Niners only want to sign him for three years – that’s what the Sacramento Bee is reporting.

What does this say about the Niners’ true feelings towards the quarterback they call “their guy?”

It says Smith is their guy for now, but not for the long-haul. They like Smith and they want him presently, but they also want to keep their options open to upgrade down the line.

It says that in the big scheme of the dynasty Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke are trying to build, Alex Smith is less important than the 28-year old strongside outside linebacker, Ahmad Brooks, who the team signed to a six-year contract extension back in February.

Harbaugh and Baalke could not wait to lock Brooks up. It was absolutely essential to re-sign him before free agency so that other teams could not bid on him, and it was equally essential to secure his services long-term because they think he has a chance to be great.

The Niners clearly don’t feel that way about Smith. They want to see how much he can improve. And if he doesn’t like their offer, he can try to find a better one from another team. They doubt he can.

Ahmad Brooks, Ray McDonald, and Isaac Sopoaga all got five-year contract extensions from the Niners. Those are “their guys.” Those are the players Harbaugh and Baalke deem essential for the future of the franchise. Harbaugh has insinuated in interviews that Smith is “their guy,” so now Smith wants to be paid accordingly.

It seems the Niners have put themselves in a tough position. They’d rather not give Smith the five-year deal, but it would be awkward not to. They’ve worked so hard to boost him up, why undercut him now?

This just came in from the Niners – they signed Will Tukuafu, the backup defensive lineman, to a two-year deal today. They’re not offering Smith much more.

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