I keep thinking of the options here, and I must confess I don't see a good solution. With McNabb being benched,it highlights the challenge of trusting that a vet, with a limited number of years left will actually raise the level of play for your organization. Let's take Brett Favre, as an example. A HOF player, but only 1 year out of 3 was he successful outside of Green Bay. Those aren't good odds at all. Keep in mind that everyone expects a lock-out this year, which apparently will seriously limit the free agent market. Kolb is also mentioned as an option, but he really hasn't had that much success in the league, but will probably still not come cheap. He is a big question mark as well.
I think most will want the 49ers to spend a 1st round pick on a QB in 2011, but we will most certainly be out of contention for the Andrew Luck bowl (count me as one who expects the 49ers to win the NFC West). So we, along with a lot of other teams will be picking one of the Locker/Mallet/Newton QBs which sound like high risk options. It probably is not reasonable to expect any of them to win in 2011.
Which brings us back to Alex and Troy Smith. Those players may give us the best chance of winning in 2011, and I personally rate Alex higher than Troy. Despite all the flaws, it seems to make the most sense to have one of both for 2011 until a rookie is ready to take over. Signing Troy Smith would not be hard, but getting Alex to sign a contract might be much more difficult.
I know it would kill a lot of people for the 49ers to extend Alex Smith, but it would make a lot of sense.