Jerry Rice said 49ers should make a run at Peyton Manning

We return to our regularly scheduled Peyton Manning Watch.

Jerry Rice thinks it’s a no-brainer that the San Francisco 49ers, fresh off their NFC West Division title in Jim Harbaugh’s first season as coach, should pursue and land Manning.

They do need a quarterback, after all, as Alex Smith is slated to be an unrestricted free agent.

I think you go for it, you really do," Rice said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “You have to go after him. You've got a defense that's going to smack you in the mouth, but you need a little more from the offense.

“Not knocking what Alex Smith did ... but a guy with the knowledge and talent of Peyton Manning, I think you'd take it to a whole different level. If he's healthy, he's going to have a chip on his shoulder like crazy. He's going to be pissed.”

Yes, not knocking Alex Smith. Thing is, as well as Smith finally played, the 49ers still were far from being an explosive offense that could challenge opposing defenses on a weekly basis. He needs to get better and the 49ers need to upgrade their wide receivers.

“If they're going to invest that much money in Alex, and they feel he can get the job done, then do it,” Rice said. “I know he made significant improvement (last season) and did what was asked of him. Maybe he can get more weapons around him, and knowing he has a coach with confidence in him ... that might bring out the best in him.”

Or they could make a run at Manning.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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