By Frank Luna

If you’re a 36 year-old future Hall of Fame free agent quarterback with, say three good years left in you, what kind of team would you be looking to hook up with?

Maybe one with a better than even chance to go deep in the playoffs, and make it to the Super Bowl. A team with a dominating defense and an offense that just needs that skilled player to lead the team over the hump and into the big show. Kind of sounds like the 49ers to me.

Think of it. Manning in the NFC West, picking apart the weakest division representing a third of your schedule. On paper, the Niners fit Manning like a glove. They were first in defense against the run, 8th in rushing offense and oh yeah, a pathetic 29th in passing yards. Sounds like Peyton’s place to me. But this is far from a no-brainer for San Francisco’s front office, mainly because Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and QB Alex Smith are joined at the hip.

The thought of turning over the Niners offense to Manning may be more than the NFL’s Coach of the Year could stomach, which is a mystery considering Smith’s free agent status has hardly piqued the interest of other teams. If not for a couple of fumbles and a multitude of grounders pitched by Smith on the last couple of drives, the 49ers would have been in the Super Bowl. That’s a fact.

Would Manning make San Francisco a better team? Absolutely, and I’m willing to bet the results would be Super.


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