49ers QB Alex Smith For Sale: $4 Million, or B.O.

Nathan AtkinsContributor IMarch 19, 2009

If you're in the Bay Area anytime soon, stop by Monster Park (formerly Candlestick Park) and check out the yard sale the 49ers have going on.

You might see former first-round pick and starting quarterback Alex Smith available. I'm not sure how much Mike Singletary will be selling him for...50 cents, maybe?

Heck, for that price, Coach will probably throw in a dirty, semi-broken lawn chair that he doesn't use anymore.

If this were a MasterCard commercial, Alex Smith wouldn't be priceless. He'd be worthless.

After floundering from day one, the first overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft has finally flopped.

San Francisco was hoping Smith could come in and...well, I'm not quite sure what they expected from him.

But after taking him at No. 1, the 49ers have been nothing but disappointed. Smith has only completed 54.4 percent of his passes while throwing for just 4,679 yards and 19 touchdowns (to 31 interceptions).

His rookie year, he played in nine games and threw one touchdown and eleven interceptions. San Francisco wrote it off as Smith's transition year; he just needed time to get adjusted to the pros.

Sure. Three years later, Smith has thrown 20 more interceptions and only 18 more touchdowns, giving him a straight-up woeful ratio.


In 2008, Smith didn't even start, as he was beaten out by J.T. O'Sullivan, a guy who is on his ninth team in six years. Dude even played a year in Germany for NFL Europe's Frankfurt Galaxy.

A sixth-round pick from a Division II school beat out a first-round, Division I Heisman finalist.

Alex's one redeeming quality is that he's smart; he graduated from the University of Utah in two years with a degree in economics. Smith's marketplace savvy is probably the only reason why he's still with the 49ers today.

Smith took a pay cut coming into this year. Instead of the $9.625 million he was slated to make, Smith will now make $4 million, a number comparable to the average NFL backup quarterback's salary.

If you need some advice on what to do, Alex, try calling Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Cade McNown, or Kyle Boller.

The time has come to accept your fate. After your contract is up in San Francisco, your future is as uncertain as the economy's.

I heard there's an opening for Deputy Treasury Secretary available.


But enough about Alex Smith. He's news from four years ago. What will San Francisco do in 2009?

Mark Sanchez threw for 3,695 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions in only 17 games at USC. He is projected to be a first-round pick and is the second-best quarterback in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Hey San Francisco! Draft this guy.

He's better than Alex Smith, but has only had one year of playing time.

Yes, he should have stayed a Trojan another year, but he didn't. He's still the best pick for the Niners in 2009.

If the team doesn't take Sanchez, then Shaun Hill will be the starter. The same who completed 62.8 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,046 yards, 13 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 2008.

In 2008, Sanchez threw for 3,207 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He did it in impressive fashion, too, as he completed 65.8 percent of his passes and led USC to a Rose Bowl victory. And in that bowl game, Sanchez completed an impressive 80 percent of his passes and threw for 415 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 38-24 blowout of Penn State.

The 6'2", 227-pound Sanchez seems to be the obvious choice. He is a local legend from his days at Mission Viejo and his recent success at USC. He's only about a six-hour drive away from Singletary and the Niners right now. Plus, he's loyal to his hometown; he chose USC over Texas, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State based on its proximity to where he grew up.

It's more than likely he still wants to stay close to home; is there a better place than the Bay?


Though Shaun Hill was a solid contributor in 2008, he only played nine games. It is still very uncertain that he will lead San Francisco to a championship.

Even Singletary has not yet been sold on Hill. Mike seems to follow a strange coaching strategy these days in the NFL: He plays the best player, not the one being paid the most money.

Other than lack of experience, I can't see why the 49ers would be turned off by Sanchez. They could use an offensive lineman, but spending the 10th pick on a lineman is a waste. Yes, the team also needs to improve on defense, but a pass-rushing end will be available later in the draft.

A quality quarterback may not be.

With the 10th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers should select Mark Sanchez, quarterback, University of Southern California.