Quarterback Alex Smith is upset with the San Francisco 49ers, and he has every right to be. The 49ers, more so than Denver Broncos or Tennessee Titans, are playing a very dangerous game at the quarterback position in their chase of free-agent Peyton Manning. It is a game that, if they are not careful, could push the franchise back a few years.

No matter what some fans still think of him, Smith was the 49ers' guy. He had the best season of his career in 2011, completing over 60% of his passes for 3,639 yards, 22 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions while leading the team to their first NFC Championship game since 1997. Harbaugh called Smith an "elite quarterback" during the regular season and they seemed to share a bond that made everyone certain Smith would return in 2012. Then the Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning -- and everything changed.

On Monday, Smith said he was happy with the three-year, $24 million contract that the team and extended to him and there were only a few details to iron out. On Tuesday, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman traveled to North Carolina and held a secret workout with Manning. They were so impressed that they sent team doctors on Wednesday to give Manning a physical exam. All of this while Smith waited for his agent, Tom Condon, who just so happens to also represent Peyton Manning's, to "iron out" the details of his contract with the 49ers.

Obviously there is a conflict of interest in having your agent be the same person that is representing the guy that may eventually replace you and is holding up your own contract. On Sunday, it was revealed that Smith considered firing Condon. He also traveled to Miami to visit with the Dolphins, where he would likely have to compete for the starting job. He also had a scheduled visit with the Seattle Seahawks, but they signed Matt Flynn. Tired of waiting for the Manning situation to resolve itself, and obviously scorned by the 49ers, Smith has started to move on.

Unlike Denver and Tennessee, San Francisco does not have another quarterback with starting experience under contract. While there may be some resentment by Tim Tebow in Denver or Matt Hasselbeck in Tennessee, those two are under contract with their clubs, making the relationship a little easier to repair. San Francisco has Colin Kaepernick, who was a rookie last season and did not display much to be hopeful for when he actually did take some snaps.

Best case scenario

Peyton Manning chooses the San Francisco 49ers and Smith, unable to find another team where he can compete, returns as Manning's backup. If Manning gets hurt or is unable to play, the team has at least as good a foundation as last year. However, unless Smith is willing to take a serious pay cut from the offer that he already had on the table or is unable to find another team to play for, this scenario is unlikely.

Great scenario

Manning chooses the 49ers and Kaepernick is his backup, allowing the young quarterback to learn from one of the best in the league. Of course, if Manning gets hurt or is unable to play, the team is in a far worse situation than last year.

Solid scenario

Manning chooses to go to Denver or Tennessee and Smith agrees to return to the 49ers. Everything is as it was last season. Of course, the 49ers might have to up the ante on the contract offer to Smith and do some major relationship repairing.

Worst case scenario

Manning chooses to go to Denver or Tennessee and Smith, upset with how he was treated, signs elsewhere, even if it means competing for the starting job. What if Miami offers him a contract before Manning makes his decision? That would leave the 49ers with Kaepernick penciled in as their starting quarterback and the team would be left scrambling to figure out what to do next. Perhaps they would go after Hasselbeck as a short-term solution if he was released as a result of the Tennessee getting Manning. Perhaps they would need to make a trade.

The 49ers know what they have in Smith. They do not yet know what they have in Kaepernick. Even if he is not at 100%, Manning is better than either. So playing this game could have very dangerous repercussions for San Francisco.

Manning is expected to make his decision on Monday or Tuesday -- possibly later. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

* Alex Smith's stats include playoffs