Bay Area Sports Fan!

A blog for a Bay Area Sports Fan

49ers Quarterback Situation

Posted by davefowkes on 03/10/2009

The 49ers officially restructured the contract of quarterback Alex Smith. The new deal is reported to be a two year contract at a much smaller number than the $10-million he was supposed to make. The return of the former number one overall pick mean the 49ers have three quarterbacks under contract for the upcoming mini-camp and then the NFL draft. Bringing Smith back was wise, but the 49ers should not be done!

Shaun Hill is finally the man! Okay so maybe not, but heading into camp he certainly has to be favored to be the starting quarterback opening day. The career third stringer has had a pretty good run as a quarterback in November and December. Unfortunately because the 49ers are always out of it, his next meaningful game will be his first. Hill appears solid but certainly not flashy. He just seems to get the job done in an unspectacular manner. Of course that could be perfect for the new 49er offense which will be anything if spectacular.

Alex Smith still brings that big “p” word with him: Potential! I know the Niner nation is down on him for being a bust and a waste. You won’t get too much argument from me on that. But remember, at the end of his second year with Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator Alex Smith actual won some games for the 49ers. Remember the road win in Seattle? The undoing of Smith came first at the hands  head coach Mike Nolan and then with injury. He really hasn’t had an opportunity the last couple of years. It has been all classroom work and maybe, just maybe, that is what Smith needed the entire time.

Smith is saying all the right things today. He is talking about how this is a fresh start, and how he felt he has unfinished business. That is all well and good but the reality is Smith has very little value on the open free agent market and in San Francisco there is far from an established quarterback to compete with. This deal makes perfect sense for both the 49ers and Alex Smith. And if he can stay healthy, I would be willing to bet that he ends up starting some games for San Francisco this year!

That brings us to the number 3 quarterback. As previously stated in my blog, I think having Damon Huard on the roster is a waste of space. I stand by that. Sure Huard bring experience and is a nice guy. But the 49ers need to upgrade their quarterbacks in the short term and long term. And that can happen in the draft. The 49ers are set with Hill and Smith. Sure, they are not barn burners by any means but at least they will get themthrough this season. Now they need to start drafting mid-round quarterbacks in the draft until either Smith proves he is the real deal, or they find the right draft pick that does work out for them.  There are plenty of good quarterbacks in the middle rounds. Just keep drafting one until he works out. They might get lucky this year, it might take them a couple of years. But they have to start trying. Having Huard on the roster makes it much more difficult for a youngster to break in on the squad.

If Smith gets injured before the season starts, there will always be other Damon Huards of the world to sign to back up Hill. So, with that 3rd quarterback position the 49ers must look to the future. Because while the current team will survive with Hill, and may get a boost for Smith, the future of the 49er quarterbacking situation is very unclear! It is never too early to address it, and that should happen at some point in the 3rd, 4th, 5th or even 6th rounds of this year’s draft! Not doing that would be a major mistake.

OTHER NOTES:

Here is a great little post by Kevin Curtis of the Chronicle remembering the days of Eddie Debartolo and Bill Walsh. It will bring a tear to the eye of us old timers who remember the greatness of years gone past!

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ninerinsider/detail?blogid=45&entry_id=36668

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