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.
"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 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