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Sunday, March 18, 2012
Seattle? Now it's on for 49ers, Alex Smith

By Mike Sando

Alex Smith visiting the Miami Dolphins had to get the San Francisco 49ers' attention.

An upcoming trip to the Seattle Seahawks? Now we're really talking.

That's the plan for Smith, as the free-agent quarterback, while the 49ers show interest in Peyton ManningMatt Barrows reports. And it's only logical.

The Seahawks had interest in Smith before Smith jumped into Jim Harbaugh's waiting arms last offseason. They have an opening at quarterback after making no effort to re-sign Charlie Whitehurst. Scot McCloughan, one of the men primarily responsible for drafting Smith in San Francisco, now works as a senior personnel executive in Seattle.

Losing Smith to Miami or Seattle wouldn't seem to matter much from a 49ers perspective if the team landed Manning. But if the 49ers missed out on both Manning and Smith, they might suffer a net loss at the position.

Barrows cites sources saying Smith is ticked off with the 49ers for what he perceived as a gap between their public comments and the contract offer they made him. We might have previously assumed hard feelings had developed between the 49ers and Smith, but this is the first I've seen it reported. The presence of hard feelings recasts this situation. We should no longer see this as simply a case of both sides doing their professional duty by exploring options available to them.

None of this means the relationship between the 49ers and Smith cannot be salvaged. It just means the relationship has changed. And it means Smith, who already took a trip to Miami, could be less likely to return.