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.
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?