SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22: Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball.against Chase Blackburn #93 and Linval Joseph #97.of the New York Giants during the second half of the NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Earlier his week, Davis Hsu, Field Gulls' resident salary cap analyst and roster guru, had been joking with Scott and I about his upcoming to trip to Florida for a cruise where he had a premonition he was going to be on the same flight as Matt Flynn. Because the Flynn visit to Seattle was sort of mystery filled - some outlets had reported that he was on his way to Seattle, some reported he was here, some had reported he had left before he had even arrived - it would have been funny to officially confirm his departure for sunny Florida to talk contracts with the Dolphins.
Ultimately, it wasn't a trip by Matt Flynn to Miami that Davis broke, it was one by Alex Smith.
I am on flight right now (red eye) from San Francisco to Miami- QB Alex Smith is sitting in first class- you connect the dots.— Davis Hsu (@DavisHsuSeattle) March 18, 2012
Davis noticed Alex on his connecting flight from San Francisco to Miami, tweeted the tidbit to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, who dispatched his colleague Izzy Gould to confirm it was in fact Smith. He did.
Pic I shot of Alex Smith arriving in Fort Lauderdale.campl.us/ifNO— Izzy Gould (@IzzyGould) March 18, 2012
The news was also broken by Adam Schefter at about the same time, (several hours after Davis started his tweeting), though Davis got credit for the breaking news from Peter King, Darren Rovell, Matt Barrows, and pretty much everyone covering the visit. Importantly though, the Alex Smith visit to Florida could set off a domino effect among free agent quarterbacks and potential draft picks and could change the futures of several NFL teams.
Perhaps Smith went to Florida because he was tipped off that Peyton Manning is close to signing with the 49ers? Perhaps he's feeling slighted by the team he led to the NFC title game last year and wants to put some pressure on them? Whatever the motive, with Smith ostensibly on the open market, that leaves him and Matt Flynn in a battle for leverage with several of the same teams. It's likely that the Seahawks would have a greater interest in Smith - they reportedly loved him last offseason - and it would appear that Matt Flynn's leverage for a contract from either the Dolphins or Seahawks, already pretty weak according to most reports, would be greatly diminished as both teams negotiate with Smith.
Regardless, where Peyton signs will influence where Smith signs. Where Smith signs will influence where Flynn signs. Where each of these QBs sign will influence what their teams do in the draft, and the Seahawks are going to potentially be right in the middle of it. It's going to be an interesting couple of days so keep your eyes on Smith's visit with the Dolphins.