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Seahawks land Matt Flynn, Dolphins trying to sign Alex Smith

Green Bay Packers back-up quarterback Matt Flynn holds on to the ball during the second half of their NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan December 12, 2010. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The Seattle Seahawks have found their next quarterback while the San Francisco 49ers are still trying to lure theirs.

The Seahawks signed free agent Matt Flynn to a three-year, $19 million contract on Sunday, with $10 million in guarantees. The initial report was that Flynn received a base of $26 million, but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel confirmed that the actual number was $19 million.

Meanwhile, the Denver Post reports that the Dolphins are trying to attract Smith with a salary that would pay him $8 million annually. Miami, which was also courting Flynn, is in a major bind at quarterback and is running out of options on the free agent market. Multiple sources tell the Miami Herald that the only way Smith would sign with the Dolphins is if the 49ers (Smith’s former team) agrees to terms with Peyton Manning.

But the two teams that are reportedly the front-runners for Manning are the Titans and Broncos, whom Peyton has worked out for this past week. Thus, if Smith winds up back with San Francisco then the Dolphins could be left with someone like free agent David Garrard, who spent last season out of football following his release from the Jaguars. (Garrard will be in Miami on Monday to visit the Dolphins and then is expected to meet with the Rams.)

Smith completed 273 of his 445 attempts last season for 3,144 yards and 17 touchdowns while leading the 49ers to the NFC championship game. He’s played his entire six-year career with San Francisco after he was selected with the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Flynn, meanwhile, caught the attention of several teams last season when he completed 31 of 44 passes for 480 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-41 win over the Lions in Week 17 of the regular season. We’ll the Seahawks could allow incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson and 2011 backup Charlie Whitehurst to battle Flynn in camp, the former Packer is favored to start next year for Seattle.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Manning’s slow decision-making starting to affect other players, teams

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith walks off the field in the second quarter against the New York Giants during the NFL NFC Championship game in San Francisco, California, January 22, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Alex Smith will be in Miami on Sunday to meet with the Dolphins and perhaps the only reason he’s paying a visit to South Florida is because of Peyton Manning’s drawn out decision-making.

That’s not meant to be a slap at Manning. Whereas Brett Favre often dragged his feet so that he could stroke his massive ego, Peyton is just thorough. But he’s so thorough that it’s starting to have an affect on other teams and players, such as Smith.

A couple of days ago it seemed like a lock that Smith would return to ‘Frisco. But then the Niners emerged as a “sleeper candidate” to land Manning and now Smith is across the country in Miami. Everyone involved in this situation is essentially doing what he has to do. Manning doesn’t want to make a rash decision on where he wants to play next, so he’s taking his time. The 49ers clearly see Manning as an upgrade over Smith, or else they would have just brought back Smith by now. Thus, Smith is now in Miami, which also needs a quarterback because Matt Flynn has yet to take the Dolphins up on their contract offer.

Hopefully in the upcoming days everything will be sorted out and if Manning lands in Tennessee or Denver, it’s likely that Smith will head back to San Francisco and Miami will still have a shot to land Flynn. But there’s also a chance that someone gets screwed here.

Let’s say Smith does sign with the Dolphins and Manning agrees to terms with Tennessee. Then who starts for the Niners next season? Colin Kaepernick? And if Smith winds up back in San Francisco, Manning signs with either Tennessee or Denver, and Flynn signs with Seattle, then who will start for Miami next season? Matt Moore? Plus, if Manning winds up with Tennessee or Denver, what happens to Matt Hasselbeck or Tim Tebow?

Even though Manning has every right to take his time and not let outside factors determine how quickly he signs, somebody is likely to wind up playing some bad cards in 2012.

Is Alex Smith on the verge of his long awaited breakout season?

In 43 career games, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has completed just 56.1 percent of his passes for 7,029 yards with 37 touchdowns and 43 inceptions.

Those numbers aren’t good for any quarterback, nevertheless one that was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft. But considering this will be the first time in his career that he’ll have the opportunity to work with the same offensive coordinator two years in a row, good things might be on the horizon for the former Utah product.

Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye is giving Smith more responsibility this year, including setting alignments and reading defenses out of the shotgun on third downs. That was something that Raye admits Smith wasn’t ready for last season.

Asked if Smith was prepared to handle that last year, the always honest Raye said, “Not really. He had some idea. Some of it was, ‘I hope I’m right, if not, run to the right.’”

Bill Walsh used to hate the shotgun because it required the quarterback to take his eyes off the defense for a split second when he got the snap. But if it works for Smith, then it works for Raye and the 49ers. It’s time for the team to trust that the 26-year-old signal caller is ready to take the next step and get San Fran back into the playoffs.

One of Smith’s teammates, tight end Vernon Davis, also recently applauded the quarterback’s improved leadership skills.

“He’s talking. He’s vocal. He’s taking control and being that guy you want on your team — a guy who’s going to step up and take charge and handle his responsibilities,” Davis said.

Outside of shaky performances against the Cardinals (Week 14) and Eagles (Week 15) in back to back weeks late in the year, Smith played very well last season after taking over for Shaun Hill in a Week 7 game against the Texans. It’s early, but things look to be aligning for the sixth-year quarterback.

I like Smith this year as part of a two-man or three-man committee. In 11 starts, he averaged 214 yards and 1.6 pass TD against 1.1 interceptions per game. He wasn’t brilliant, but he was for the most part solid, and with an offseason to work with Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, Smith should perform well in good matchups. I’d expect him to finish somewhere in the QB10 to QB17 range, which makes him a prime target for a QBBC.


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