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Around the NFC West: Mending 49er fences

Those thinking the San Francisco 49ers betrayed Alex Smith by courting Peyton Manning might soften their views upon consulting a timeline.

But the 49ers and agent Tom Condon could have been more transparent with Smith throughout the process.

Kevin Lynch of sfgate.com makes that case before concluding that Smith has little choice but to sign with the 49ers. He notes that the 49ers showed interest in Manning only after Smith declined their contract offer. Lynch: "Where the 49ers and agent Tom Condon erred was not telling Smith of their intention to see Manning workout until moments before it was found out by the media. That maneuver supposedly angered Smith, who thought it was disingenuous for the 49ers and Condon, who represents Smith and Manning, not to tell him earlier. Smith, from my understanding, was not upset the team was working out Manning." Noted: If that is the only beef, then the 49ers and Smith should have little trouble coming to an understanding once the financial particulars come into focus.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Harbaugh and Smith met for roughly an hour Monday. Barrows: "The deal currently on the table for Smith is for $24 million over three years and has a little more than $10 million in guarantees. It also has some guaranteed money in the second year. Jim Harbaugh was seen leaving the team facility around 2 p.m. today, and it is believed that he's the one who extended the olive branch to Smith, who is upset over what he presumably felt was a lower-than-expected offer."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the relationship between Harbaugh and Smith might not be affected if general manager Trent Baalke takes responsibility for the 49ers pursuing Manning. Noted: This shouldn't be too complicated. Ownership would likely be involved in any decision to pursue a player as high-profile as Manning. Harbaugh and the 49ers did not flaunt their interest in Manning. They can reasonably say they were looking into Manning in an effort to upgrade their roster, and that Harbaugh wants nothing more than to help Smith pick up where he left off last season.

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat thinks Harbaugh's ego stood between the 49ers and Manning, and that the 49ers need to increase their offer to Smith after Seattle gave similar money to Matt Flynn. Noted: The widely cited $26 million figure for Flynn counts incentives. The deal is actually for closer to $19 million.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News thinks the 49ers' plans for Colin Kaepernick partly explain the team's reluctance to give Smith additional security through guaranteed money.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says former Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz could be a candidate to play right guard for the 49ers. Schwartz is visiting teams after missing the 2011 season to recover from a hip injury.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times explains David Hsu's trip to Miami turned into an adventure tracking the 49ers' Smith. O'Neil: "He was headed to Miami with his older sister and her family for a cruise to the Bahamas, and looking around the Virgin America waiting area, he noticed a 6-foot-5 former No. 1 overall draft pick sitting nearby. ... He and his nieces consulted Google. They were positive. When Hsu boarded the flight, there was Smith sitting in Row 1. Hsu moved on back to Row 14, and thanks to the magic of in-flight wireless he tweeted the news, directing it to a trio of people who cover the Seahawks or have connections to the team."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the Rams' youth movement along their defensive line. Thomas: "Last season, the Rams started three defensive linemen who were age 32 or older -- Justin Bannan, James Hall and Fred Robbins. This year, they'll start at least three who are age 27 or younger -- Chris Long, Robert Quinn and newcomer Kendall Langford. Be it via free agency or the draft, the team remains on the lookout for another starting defensive tackle. But the hope at Rams Park is that they're three-fourths of the way toward having a more talented defensive line."

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks have found a clear upgrade at quarterback in Flynn. Boling: "Flynn is further along than was Matt Hasselbeck, far more ready to step in and be the franchise guy. Hasselbeck had only 13 regular-season completions when he arrived, and needed almost a season and a half before becoming a convincing starter. Flynn should not. Hasselbeck completed only 54 percent of his passes his first season in Seattle; Flynn is far more accurate than that already and should only get better with regular starting."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Flynn did not know the team would ask him to throw for coaches during a visit to team headquarters over the weekend. Flynn: "I think they just wanted to see me throw, see my footwork, see just the throws I can make. They asked me to do it, and I was totally up for it. We kind of had fun in the workout. It was real laid back."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the team cleared about $3 million in salary-cap space after releasing guard Rex Hadnot and receiver Chansi Stuckey. Urban: "Hadnot started all of 2011 but the team had been looking to upgrade and when they signed Adam Snyder it gave the Cards the room to make a move. Stuckey never seemed to find traction for playing time after his costly fumble in Washington ended the Cards’ chances on a late drive."