Jerry Rice has gone public to say the San Francisco 49ers should go after Peyton Manning. On ESPN’s Around the Horn, the Niners were specifically cited by Bill Plaschke as a perfect new home for Manning because they are close to a Super Bowl right now.
According to 49ers Examiner Sam Lam, the Niners are not interested, but they do have an offer on the table to Alex Smith.
There is no doubt Smith turned a corner. As a Green Bay Packers shareholder living in San Francisco before the day the two were drafted, I have had a unique perspective on Alex Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers and have always contended Smith’s failures were not his doing.
But he will never be the quarterback Peyton Manning should still be right now. Observers of his recent workouts stress that Manning looks as good as he ever has, so why would the Niners not want him?
Because Alex Smith can be their quarterback for many years. Even if Manning’s neck is not a problem moving forward, he has five years at most. There is a very good chance that Smith will be a better quarterback within three years.
The Niners are a relatively young team. They lack the solid receiving corps Manning is used to.
The best thing long-term for them is to develop receivers for the next five seasons around one quarterback. That gives them more years and a better chance than having just a couple years to get there with a higher-priced (and therefore less-supported) and aging Manning.
Thus, only a young elite quarterback should make the Niners want to go in a different direction than Smith.