San Francisco 49ers All-Pro defensive lineman Justin Smith has reached an agreement with the organization on a two-year contract extension that runs through 2015.
The team's official Twitter broke the news on Wednesday:
The #49ers have signed DT Justin Smith to a two-year contract extension through 2015.— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) June 19, 2013
CSN Bay Area reported some contract details on Thursday, noting that the team freed up a solid amount of cap space in the new contract:
Justin Smith's contract extension with the 49ers cleared more than $4 million in salary cap room this season, a source told CSNBayArea.com.
The 49ers are now $6.423 million under the salary cap after Smith's two-year extension through the 2015 season.
Smith's extension averages $4.35 million per season over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, the new years added to the deal. Smith, who has earned trips to the Pro Bowl the past four seasons, negotiated the contract with the 49ers without the use of an agent.
Smith has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons and has been a key driving force in the Niners' vaunted defense, which has turned into one of the premier units in the league since head coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff took over two seasons ago.
The 33-year-old Smith is known for his durability, having only missed three games in his entire 12-year career since being drafted No. 4 overall in 2001 by the Cincinnati Bengals.
In fact, since his rookie campaign, he hadn't missed a single contest until 2012, when a torn triceps injury suffered in a win against the New England Patriots forced him to sit out the final two regular-season games.
How will the 49ers fare in 2013?
When he left the game, the Patriots mounted a furious rally before losing, 41-34. The following week—the first time Smith was out of the lineup—the Niners were thrashed, 42-13, on the road by the NFC West-rival Seattle Seahawks.
The defense wasn't quite the same with him being somewhat limited by the injury in the postseason. San Francisco gave up an average of over 28 points in its three playoff contests.
Clearly, Smith is a key cog in the 49ers' aggressive 3-4 scheme, and keeping him around will only help the Niners' quest for a Super Bowl after falling agonizingly short the past two seasons.