Maybe a free-agent visit to Miami wound up benefitting Alex Smith in the long run.

The quarterback signed a three-year contract on Tuesday and if reports of the original offer from the San Francisco 49ers are accurate, Smith is better off having been part of the Peyton Manning circus.

While the 49ers flirted with Manning, and eventually lost out to the Denver Broncos, Smith explored other options. The two sides came together with Smith finally getting a deal that rewards him for leading the Niners to the NFC title game this past season.

According to the Associated Press, the new three-year pact is worth $8 million annually and includes $16.5 million guaranteed. Originally, the deal was thought to have around $12 million guaranteed. The max value of the deal can stretch it to $33 million. The guess here – and it’s just a guess – is Smith would have to win at least one Super Bowl to max out the contract.

It’s a much better option for him than winding up in Miami. That much is for sure.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune