Free-agent offensive tackle Marvel Smith arrived in San Jose a little after noon today. The long-time Pittsburgh Steeler will go through the free-agent routine -- meet with coaches and GM Scot McCloughan and then head for a physical up at Stanford. The physical, of course, is the key to a deal. Smith has dealt with lower-back pain the past two seasons, and he had surgery on his lower back in December of 2007. If I deal is reached, it likely will be this evening or perhaps tomorrow morning. If Smith isn't signed, another tackle to keep an eye on is Levi Jones, whose tenure in Cincinnati appears to be iffy.
Lots of questions about SI reporter Jim Trotter's appearance on ESPN's "First Take" this morning. Trotter spoke about a disconnect between the 49ers front office and the coaching staff on some recent free-agent acquisitions, specifically WR Brandon Jones and QB Damon Huard. If this were a rift between Mike Singletary and GM Scot McCloughan, it would be cause for concern. Instead, the root of the issue seems to be an unhappy assistant coach.
-- Matt Barrows