One of the biggest questions Jim Harbaugh will have to answer as head coach of the 49ers is which direction the team takes at quarterback. Is Alex Smith in that future? The former No. 1 overall pick is set to become an unrestricted free agent, but recent signs suggest Harbaugh might want to keep him in the picture.
It’s a logical scenario for both sides given the current labor uncertainty. Harbaugh has little to lose by evaluating Smith, given the free agent period could take place after the draft. The 49ers can still re-sign Smith until the current CBA expires on March 3. For Smith, the tutelage of Harbaugh might represent his best chance at winning after five up-and-down seasons.
For all of Smith’s detractors, some still believe he can be a winning NFL quarterback. Analysts Charles Davis and Adam Archuleta fall in the later category.
“I don’t know if he’ll be that [franchise] guy. But I think he has potential to be a winning quarterback,” Archuleta told NFL Network. “What he needs is some stability. He needs a great coach who can maximize his skills. The question is whether he is a broken quarterback mentally? Does he have confidence?
“Many times you see first overall picks completely get destroyed by their experiences with their team. If Harbaugh can get inside his head and revive his confidence I think he can be a winning quarterback in this league.”
Now it’s up to Harbaugh to determine just that. For you 49ers faithful, do you believe Smith and Harbaugh could be a winning combination?