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Smith agrees to six-year deal with 49ers

NEW YORK (July 25, 2005) -- Alex Smith, the first pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, agreed to terms on a six-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers.

The agreement is expected to set off a run of signings of first-round draft picks.

The only other first-rounders to agree to terms are defensive tackle Mike Patterson with Philadelphia, and offensive lineman Logan Mankins, taken by New England with the 32nd and last pick of the first round.

Smith is expected to compete immediately with Tim Rattay for the starting quarterback job with the 49ers, who finished 2-14 in 2004 and have gone back-to-back seasons without making the playoffs for only the second time since 1980.

The 49ers are counting on Smith to grasp their new version of the West Coast offense quickly after playing mostly out of the shotgun for two years at Utah. They are hoping he can be the key piece as the franchise tries to regain the level of dominance it had with Joe Montana and Steve Young under center.

After winning five Super Bowls and playing in nine NFC championship games in 14 years with those Hall of Fame quarterbacks, the 49ers have made it to the NFC title game only once in the past 10 seasons, losing to Green Bay at the end of the 1997 season.

Smith and new coach Mike Nolan have their work cut out. The 49ers have little proven talent at receiver: San Francisco signed veteran Johnnie Morton earlier this offseason to join Brandon Lloyd, Arnaz Battle and 2004 No. 1 pick Rashaun Woods.

Morton and tight end Eric Johnson are the only Niners receivers with more than 60 career receptions.

Smith, who left Utah after his junior season, led the Utes to their first BCS bowl triumph, a victory against Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl. They finished 12-0 and were ranked fourth in The Associated Press poll.

This past season, he 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.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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