Rookie Smith, 49ers agree to six-year contract

Updated: July 27, 2005, 7:58 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The San Francisco 49ers signed quarterback Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, to a $49.5 million, six-year contract on Tuesday.

Alex Smith
Smith

Smith will receive $24 million in guaranteed money, which includes his bonus. Smith's average annual salary of $8.25 million tops the $7.5 million average the Giants gave to quarterback Eli Manning, the first pick in the 2004 draft.

The $24 million in guarantees for Smith is a 20 percent increase over Manning's deal -- Manning had $20 million of his $45 million guaranteed in 2004. Both deals were negotiated by by Tom Condon and Ken Kremer of IMG Football.

Smith signed the deal four days before the first workouts of training camp Saturday, ensuring he'll have every chance to earn the Niners' starting job.

"Now it's time for me to go earn this money and prove that I deserve this money," Smith said. "The primary goal is to get on the field. I don't think this team is paying me this money to sit on the sideline."

Condon and 49ers director of football operations Paraag Marathe had worked for months on the details of a contract that is expected to stretch 70 to 80 pages. In recent days, both sides had acknowledged that about 80 percent of the contract was completed. Condon flew to the Bay Area on Sunday afternoon to resume face-to-face negotiations Monday, and the deal was agreed upon by Monday afternoon.

"We're glad and happy that we've come to an agreement prior to training camp," said York, who would have faced another storm of criticism if the Niners' top pick hadn't been in the opening workouts.

The deal, which is expected to break the negotiating inertia among the highest draft picks, will allow Smith to report to training camp Friday with the rest of the 49er rookies. In fact, San Francisco is making enough progress with its other draft choices such that everyone is expected to report to camp on time.

Smith is expected to be the 49ers' starter as the team attempts, under first-year coach Mike Nolan, to rebuild from a dismal 2-14 season. The team opens camp in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday.

Smith, who left Utah after his junior season, led the Utes to their first BCS bowl win, a victory over Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl. They finished 12-0.

This past season, Smith completed 185 of 280 passes for 2,624 yards with 28 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also rushed for 563 yards and 10 touchdowns in the regular season. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Information from ESPN.com senior NFL writers Len Pasquarelli and John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.