Apparently new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is not too concerned about winning right away as he has already stated that he would like to give quarterback Alex Smith a deal to stick around one more year. According to the San Jose Mercury News:
Harbaugh has said repeatedly he is open to bringing the unrestricted free agent back for a seventh season. The new coach declined to discuss the reported contract offer, citing the NFL labor situation, but Harbaugh reiterated that he believes Smith’s best days are ahead of him.
“He’s a tough son of a gun,” Harbaugh told the Bee. “I watched four really solid years of every snap the guy took — getting hit in the pocket, picking himself back up, playing under adversity, fierce competitor. I don’t think (booing) will affect the guy.”
Tough and a solid competitor? That may be true, but being tough and solid doesn’t mean squat if you cant throw the ball well. Lets look at his stats real quick. Smith has thrown 51 touchdowns to 53 interceptions in his 6 year career, but that statistic is heavily skewed by his rookie season where he threw 11 INTs to just 1 TD. Take out his rookie year and he is at 50 TDs to 42 INTs, which, while better, still isnt that good. He also has a career 57.1% accuracy percentage with two seasons at or under the 50% completion rate. Last year, for example, Smith threw for a 59% completion percentage, which is not that sustainable in the NFL and left him in 22nd place amongst the 31 starting quarterbacks in the league.
For the sum of his career, his approximate value as a NFL player leaves him at about the 4374th most valuable player since 1950. In other words…not very valuable. For comparisson’s sake, fellow 49er David Carr’s value is actually at 1837th place…and he sucks so much he hasn’t been allowed to start a game in 3 years.
Now, no one knows what the quarterback market will be like thanks to the current labor dispute but putting your eggs in this basket before you find out what else could be available seems foolhardy (to me) since its been quite obvious for some time now that Alex Smith is not a starting quarterback in this league.
The team might not even be running the same offense as the one that Smith has been in for the last few years with new head coach Jim Harbaugh now in charge of things in San Fran. So, sure, there would be continuity at the position if they resign him for a year but there probably won’t be continuity with the scheme. Without the same offensive scheme in place, quarterback continuity is near useless in my mind.
Currently, the 49ers are under no obligation to give this man any more of their money and the only real reason they should even contemplate doing so again is that he already knows the offensive performers…which isnt saying much.
I do agree with Harbaugh that that be boo-birds shouldn’t be a problem for Smith next season, he’s gotta be used to that by now since he has been a below average NFL player his entire career, but I do disagree with any sort of argument that he can be a productive, starter-quality quarterback in the NFL. His statistical history just doesn’t make it seem possible unless he has a miraculous turnaround.