One of Jim Harbaugh’s most impressive feats as coach of the 49ers was maximizing Alex Smith’s potential. The former No. 1 pick was considered a bust prior to the season, but Harbaugh got him to limit his turnovers for the first time in his career. Several reports attributed Harbaugh’s surprising and unwavering confidence in Smith as a big reason for the turnaround. But Harbaugh is now risking the confidence instilled in Smith by pursuing free agent Peyton Manning.
The 49ers at first made it seem like they weren’t interested in Manning because they were content to stick with Smith, something most football fans and analysts could not understand. On Friday we learned that the Niners are interested in Manning and have been secretly pursuing him.
ESPN reported the 49ers worked out Manning and gave him a physical last week. Manning reportedly is seeking a five-year deal for around $90 million, and he’s expected to choose his team on Monday or Tuesday. Denver and Tennessee were considered his two favorites, but now that we know the 49ers are in the mix, they could be the favorites.
The 49ers had the best defense in football last season, reached the NFC Championship Game, just signed Randy Moss, and are a strong quarterback away from the Super Bowl. Going to San Francisco makes the most sense for Peyton Manning if he wants his best chance at a Super Bowl.
The problem is the 49ers may have to crawl back to Smith if Manning doesn’t choose them. Who knows if he’ll have the same confidence? If you don’t think the news is bothering him, just know reports say he is considering switching agents because of a conflict of interest (Tom Condon represents both him and Manning). The 49ers are taking a risk, but it’s worthwhile.
H/T LBS contributor MonaGoogle+