Alex Smith, 49ers need one another

The San Francisco 49ers missed out on Peyton Manning and after the Miami Dolphins signed David Garrard on Monday, it would appear Alex Smith is headed back to the Bay Area.

But the sides haven’t gotten a deal done yet, and it’s not known exactly what Smith’s mind-set is after the Niners’ pursuit of Manning left him hanging and eventually led to a free-agent visit to Miami.

Coach Jim Harbaugh spent an hour meeting with Smith on Monday afternoon, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, in an effort to lure Smith back. The 49ers might be the last team out there that Smith will be able to get a starting job with at this point. Is he better than other starters out there? Sure. But right now no other teams are stepping up in pursuit of him.

The Seattle Seahawks were believed to have interest in Smith and then they signed Matt Flynn.

So, right now Smith has to decide if he likes the offer that is on the table – a $24 million, three-year contract with $10 million guaranteed.

"We have a contract on the table and it's up to him," owner Jed York said, according to the report. "We'd like for him to be here, and we'll see where it goes."

That offer – compared to the market price for quarterbacks – would seem to be a little low for someone coming off an appearance in the NFC title game. Maybe at this point Smith is looking for a little more in guarantees. He might not have any better options at this point, but it’s unlikely the Niners can come up with a better plan either.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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