NFL free agency began yesterday, and the 49ers have a hefty $25 million under the salary cap to spend. But they'd like an even heftier sum -- and they're going to take it out of Alex Smith's salary, whether he likes it or not.
The Niners will keep Smith around only if he agrees to a giant reduction in the $12.3 million he's got coming this season. If Smith does not agree to a salary reduced to the 49ers liking, he will be waived.
Smith is currently out of the country on his honeymoon and unavailable for comment.
Wait, he's on his honeymoon? Does his wife know about this pay cut business? And more importantly, would she be willing to stick around if she did?
The degree of pay cut Smith would have to take can't be determined at this point, because both parties need to agree on the salary reduction. These conversations will be ongoing between 49ers general manager Scott McCloughan and Smith's agent Tom Condon. Smith pretty much remains in professional limbo through these proceedings.
He's not even allowed to work out at team facilities, on the off-chance he might get hurt and the Niners could be on the hook for an injury settlement.
If Smith does come back, he'd still be backing up Shaun Hill. But for a guy with a 63.5 career quarterback rating, that just might be the most generous offer he's going to find.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is sure that Alex Smith's new wife is a wonderful woman who loves him for many reasons other than his $50 million professional sports contract.