Alex Smith and 49ers at stalemate

Look, I’m on the outside, but I can’t help but notice that Mark Sanchez just got a five-year contract extension from the Jets, $24 million guaranteed.

Alex Smith is a better quarterback than Sanchez. It would be embarrassing for Smith and his agent to accept a three-year deal with less than $20 million guaranteed. The best move for them is to find out if a team like the Seahawks or the Dolphins or the Browns would overpay in free agency before taking the Niners’ skimpy offer.

Does Smith owe it to the Niners to accept their skimpy offer? He’s made scores of millions already from the Yorks with only mediocre results. You could argue that Smith owes the Niners a discount for sticking with him, when all other franchises would have cut him after Year 3.

On the other hand, you could make the argument that the Niners owe Smith. Bad teams and worse coaches sabotaged the first half of his career, and yet he remained loyal to the franchise. He’s so loyal he led mini camps and caddied for his head coach in a golf tournament this past year, all without a contract.

Who owes who?

Another thing. With this stalemate, Smith is demonstrating surprising self-confidence. He’s not going back to the Niners with his tail between his legs. It’s as if he really believes he’s elite, and he wants to be paid what he believes is fair. Good for him.

Through these negotiations, Harbaugh is insinuating that Smith is no big deal without him, and that Harbaugh could win the Super Bowl with any bargain quarterback – Colin Kaepernick or Scott Tolzien or Josh Johnson.

Who’s confidence is more audacious – Smith’s or Harbaugh’s?

Lastly, a week ago most of you guys said Smith was coming back to the Niners one way or another. Your confidence in his return was around 99 percent. Where is it now?

My best guess is there’s about a 40 percent chance Smith comes back. The Niners won’t budge from their offer – it’s their philosophy to never overpay. Smith probably won’t budge, either. He wants Sanchez money. There are a lot of QB desperate teams in the league, and one might just give Smith his five-year deal. If one does, then the Niners would probably sign Josh Johnson, and play next season with a Super-Bowl-caliber defense and neophyte QB.

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