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Alex Smith’s price tag just went up

Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching!

That’s Alex Smith’s new ringtone, because he’s about to get paid.

In case you missed it, the bar was set for middle-of-the-road quarterbacks when the Jets gave Mark Sanchez a three-year, $40 million contract extension on Friday. $20.5 million is guaranteed over the next two years.

Smith and his agent must have been doing a “happy dance” yesterday evening. I imagine Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke wont be inviting Jets execs over for drinks.

Smith’s numbers were comparable to Sanchez’s numbers last season, so it’s conceivable that Smith could ask for as much, if not more, as Sanchez got.

Sanchez had more passing yards (3,474 to 3,144) and more touchdown passes (26 to 17), but Smith had a much higher passer rating (90.7 to 78.2) and threw far fewer interceptions (5 to 18).

Is Smith worthy of this type of contract? After one good season, probably not, but the market has been set. If the 49ers are unwilling to give Smith that kind of money, another desperate team will.

As Matt Maiocco writes, the 49ers may not want to lock themselves into a long-term deal with Smith because they don’t want to block Colin Kaepernick, whom they just drafted last year.

Maiocco also reported last week that the 49ers have a contract offer on the table to Smith. They’d be wise to leave it on the table, not to be swayed by the numbers the Jets and Sanchez agreed to. If he takes it, they are committed short-term to Smith. If he rejects it, then they just have to speed up the development of Kaepernick.

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