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Report: Alex Smith may part ways with CAA

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Ezra Shaw

Earlier this month, we pointed out that CAA’s representation of quarterback Peyton Manning could at some point clash with CAA’s representation of starting quarterbacks for teams that covet Peyton Manning.

With CAA client Alex Smith possibly out in the cold in San Francisco due to the Niners’ presence in the Peyton chase, Smith may be making a change. Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Smith is contemplating hiring a new agent.

Both players are free agents, and the 49ers surely will want to keep Smith if the 49ers don’t land Manning. In order to best represent Smith, his agent should be trying to persuade the 49ers to make a decision sooner rather than later. In order to best represent Manning, his agent should be trying to persuade the 49ers to wait on Smith until Manning makes up his mind.

The 49ers still want Smith. Lynch writes that the team has offered Smith a three-year, $24 million contract. Smith could throw a wrench into the Peyton chase by accepting the offer.

If, however, Smith will be playing second fiddle to Peyton, Smith may be more interested in taking a backup job at less money with a team where he’d have a better chance at eventually playing.

Lynch also mentions that there’s speculation the 49ers aren’t truly interested in Manning, and that they’re simply sniffing around Peyton in order to get Smith to accept the offer. Frankly, that makes no sense. Expressing phony interest in Peyton builds false hope and then disappoints the fan base, creating the perception that Smith is at best a second-choice option.

The 49ers’ interest in Manning likely is real. And the Niners hope to keep Smith on the line until they decide what to do with Manning. Smith may think that his leverage with the 49ers would increase if his agent were to start shopping him to other teams.

This isn’t about whether CAA or Condon is doing anything wrong; they’re not. It’s about the comfort level of the client. Smith understandably is getting antsy. And the intensely competitive nature of the business means that other agents are whispering to Smith regarding the concerns that he should have, even if he didn’t already have those concerns.