Harbaugh getting a closer look at Alex Smith

Here’s something for 49ers fans to keep tabs on as the NFL heads into an uncertain offseason: New head coach Jim Harbaugh and former starting QB Alex Smith seem to be developing a working relationship.

As part of a solid piece on the 49ers quarterback situation, Matt Maiocco of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area reports Harbaugh and Smith have had “several” face-to-face meetings and even thrown the ball around together, giving the coach a look at the quarterback’s mechanics and fundamentals.

“I’ve had a couple meetings with him,” Harbaugh said. “It’s been good. And I look forward to continuing that (this week) when he’s back in town.”

Certainly, which direction the 49ers go at quarterback is Harbaugh’s biggest question to answer. And the current signs seem to suggest Harbaugh could want Smith back in 2011.

It’s logical that Harbaugh would do his due diligence on Smith, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 4. Until then, he’s property of the 49ers, giving Harbaugh an opportunity to feed Smith the new playbook. That could be an advantage for both sides if a new collective bargaining agreement isn’t reached.

And it likely means that, for now, it’s Smith who is the 49ers’ best option.

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