The end of the lockout means that Alex Smith and the 49ers can stop being semi-furtive about their glances toward one another and start making out in the middle of the room.
Or the football equivalent of that, anyway.
Even with second round pick Colin Kaepernick in the fold, it has been an open secret for some time that the 49ers would bring back Smith for a seventh year with the team. He spent the lockout working out with his offensive teammates, learning the playbook and talking like the leader of the offense. More importantly, new coach Jim Harbaugh spoke about him the same way.
Smith said Monday that he plans to sign a contract with the 49ers as quickly as possible.
“I’m not going to wait for anything,” he said. “I’m excited for this to start … waiting for that opportunity. I’m sure it’ll be pretty quick. I’m sure it’ll move fast. It’s pretty well set in stone, I think.”
Smith wouldn’t answer questions about the deal, including whether or not there was an option for a second season. With Kaepernick in the wings, you have to imagine Smith’s stay, regardless of contract terms, is going to wind up being impacted by how quickly the rookie develops. Still, Harbaugh made it clear this offseason that there’s something he likes about Smith which means that he’s gonna get another chance as the starter in San Francisco.