Alex Smith Is Back, But Apparently In Disguise

Things don't usually work this way, but hey, we're in a recession. Alex Smith — once thought totally extinct in the wild — is back with the 49ers under a new, slimmer contract.

Photo: National Post (which has since fixed it).

This definitely is a sign of the times. It was only four years ago that Smith, the No. 1 overall pick by the 49ers, signed a six-year, $49.5 million contract. But injuries and general suckitude led to career numbers of 19 touchdown passes and 31 interceptions in 32 games, leading the Niners to let him go last season.

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Smith, however, has seen the life story of Ryan Leaf, and does not intend to participate in a sequel. The 49ers announced today that they've restructured his contract, and while the exact salary isn't known, Pro Football Talk estimates that it's in the $2 million-to-$3 million range. Smith would have made $9.625 million this season under his old deal.

"Alex expressed a deep desire to remain with the team and that feeling was mutual," general manager Scot McCloughan said in a statement.

Actually that's not total spin; Smith, now presumably recovered from a shoulder injury, probably could have made a bit more signing with another team. But what other team would give him the opportunity to compete for a starting spot with Shaun Hill?

Niners Restructure QB Smith's Contract [National Post]
Smith, 49ers Agree To New Deal [San Francisco Chronicle]
Alex Smith Does A New Deal [Pro Football Talk]