In the end, Smith is right back where he expected to be all along -- with the only franchise he has ever known.
The free-agent quarterback finally signed his three-year deal with the 49ers on Wednesday. It will pay him $8 million per season with $16.5 million guaranteed, according to a person with knowledge of the contract.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the contract details weren't made public, said Smith's deal can pay him up to $33 million.
Smith signed at team headquarters, one day after Manning was formally introduced in Denver after the 49ers pursued the four-time NFL MVP. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh worked out Manning at Duke last week.
"Not offended at all. I would have relished the opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback job with Peyton Manning," said Smith, who had a breakthrough 2011 season, throwing for 3,150 yards and 17 touchdowns to help San Francisco reach the NFC title game. "I feel I've been through way worse than this. Free agency is always going to be a little crazy, maybe this year more than most. You get to a point you stop worrying about that stuff."
Smith, 27, met with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, but he ultimately decided to stay put with the storied franchise that drafted him first overall in 2005. Smith said his talks with the Dolphins during a 5½-hour meeting "seemed serious at the time."
Smith said Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke came to see him to inform the quarterback they were going to pursue Manning.
"Obviously it was a little unexpected, but that's part of the deal," Smith said. "This is free agency and this is the NFL, and those things happen."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press