As the Matt Flynn and Peyton Manning saga unfolds, and they leave a path of disgruntled quarterbacks who have received far less attention this offseason in their wake, the expected has begun to occur. Some of those quarterbacks are going to decide that their team going after Flynn or Manning is reason enough for them to want out of town.
Alex Smith will visit the Seahawks after he visits Miami. He has played in San Francisco since being the top overall pick 2005 draft, and between San Francisco, Miami, and Seattle he may ultimately be entertaining offers from three cities spurned by Manning, and at least one spurned by Flynn.
While the 49ers went 13-3 last year, and Smith had his best season statistically ever, one has to wonder, is Smith a real upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson? The 49ers altered their offense to something that fit Smith’s abilities more, and limited the times he threw the ball downfield. While Smith is reasonably athletic, he’s not nearly as athletic as Tarvaris Jackson. And when Jackson healthy he played a lot better than after he tore his pectoral muscle.
But the Pete-Carroll-John-Schneider personnel team has preached competition their whole time in charge of the Seahawks. Nobody enters camp with a predetermined role, and even if the Seahawks don’t acquire an obvious starter between now and training camp, it seems likely that Jackson will be competing for his job. Who better than his essential equal, and while potentially pulling said equal from the grasp of his former team, who just happen to be the Seahawks division rival. Obviously if a healthy Manning ends up in San Francisco they’ll upgrade the quarterback position, but that Smith is visiting the Dolphins and Seahawks may mean that he’s finished in San Francisco, whether they end up wanting him back or not.
There is an Arab proverb that says “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” There may be no example better in football than this case. While Smith probably offers only a slight marginal benefit for the Seahawks on the field, the detriment it could cause to the 49ers if they’ve alienated Smith beyond recourse, and subsequently miss out on Manning, may be much larger. Detriment to the 49ers ultimately can be booked as benefit for the Seahawks.