Quarterback Alex Smith is staying with the San Francisco 49ers
after agreeing Tuesday to a restructured contract sharply reducing
his base salary.
The former No. 1 overall draft pick was due to make nearly $10
million in the upcoming season under the contract he signed in
2005. Financial terms weren't immediately available, but the 49ers
now have Smith under contract for the next two years at a salary
more commensurate with his four up-and-down seasons with the club.
"Alex expressed a deep interest to remain with the team, and
that feeling was mutual," said 49ers general manager Scot
McCloughan, who would have released Smith before training camp
without a reworked deal.
The deal allows Smith to join the 49ers on Monday for their
first offseason team meetings and a minicamp on the weekend under
Jimmy Raye, San Francisco's fifth offensive coordinator in Smith's
five seasons. Smith couldn't have participated in the workouts
without a new contract because of insurance liabilities.
Smith missed most of the past two seasons with injuries while
feuding with former coach Mike Nolan. After Mike Singletary
replaced Nolan midway through last season, Smith became more
outspoken about his desire to stay in San Francisco.
Smith, whose recent honeymoon delayed negotiations on his new
deal, is still hoping to live up to the promise that compelled the
49ers to choose him at the top of the notoriously flimsy 2005 draft
ahead of Aaron Rodgers, Braylon Edwards, DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman.
The 49ers still believe the former Utah star has potential he
hasn't tapped after just one full season as their starter, in 2006.
Smith has passed for 4,679 yards in 32 career games, throwing 19
touchdown passes and 31 interceptions.
Smith separated his throwing shoulder in the fourth game of 2007
on a sack by Seattle's Rocky Bernard. He attempted to return
quickly from the injury, but his struggles opened a rift with
Nolan, with each accusing the other of misunderstanding the injury.
Smith underwent shoulder surgery after the season, but then
broke a bone elsewhere in his shoulder. He didn't play at all last
season, undergoing more surgery in October to clean up his
After the 49ers failed in their pursuit of free agent
quarterback Kurt Warner last week, Smith is expected to head into
training camp in competition for the starting job with Shaun Hill,
who is 7-3 as a starter over the past two seasons. San Francisco
also signed veteran quarterback Damon Huard last week.
Raye is the 49ers' seventh offensive coordinator in seven
seasons overall, and the annual installation of a new scheme has
led to offenses that were the NFL's worst in two of Smith's four