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Good thing the Bengals didn't pay Smith THAT much

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Don Banks wrote an interesting story on the San Francisco 49ers becoming the new Washington Redskins with major 2007 signings that produced little results. Over the weekend, the 49ers signed Justin Smith to a six-year, $45 million deal which "inclues" $20 million in guaranteed money.

I'm not down on Smith. He's a good, solid player who has performed capably and almost always answered the bell in his seven seasons in Cincinnati. But if the 49ers think they've acquired the premier pass-rushing threat that they've been looking for throughout their five-year non-playoff streak, they're likely in for another letdown.

Banks' assessment is dead-on. But I question if Smith has ever "answered the bell". Unless "answered the bell" means you're durable. There's nothing Smith has done in his career that made teams go "crap, we have to pay attention to that guy". Maybe Smith might find his place in San Francisco. However, to say that I'm excited that we don't have to pay that money for him, knowing his historical performances, would be an understatement.