Updates from Tuesday, May 6
Aldon Smith released a public statement on Monday in the midst of a difficult offseason:
Stay positive and always give your best effort,eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater tests— Aldon Smith (@AldonSmith) May 6, 2014
After much deliberation, the San Francisco 49ers have decided to pick up the fifth-year option for linebacker Aldon Smith.
The team announced the deal on its official Twitter account:
This was not an easy decision for the 49ers, despite the fact that Smith had been one of the top pass-rusher in the NFL since entering the league in 2011. The former first-round pick finished with 14 sacks in his rookie season before totaling 19.5 in 2012.
He made the Pro Bowl and was first-team All-Pro while helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately, his problems off the field started to affect his play on it when he was charged with a DUI during the regular season in 2013. He eventually checked into rehab following the incident, keeping him out of five games.
Things got even worse in the postseason when he was charged for a false report of a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport.
Soon after the incident, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the team was not planning on picking up the player's option:
49ers are not expected to pick up the fifth-year option on LB Aldon Smith's contract, per league source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 18, 2014
However, general manager Trent Baalke noted that he wanted to keep Smith around, via Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee:
Trent Baalke on Aldon Smith: "We're a family. You don't just open a door and toss people out of it."— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) April 25, 2014
The organization then waited until the final day before the deadline to make a decision surrounding the linebacker. However, it is clear that the production on the field was enough to outweigh the problems off it.
Albert Breer of NFL Network notes that this at least sent a message to Smith:
Biggest thing here: Niners successfully made Aldon Smith sweat it out. Pretty well-executed right down the line.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 2, 2014
If this forces the linebacker to clean up his act and avoid more problems, everyone will be happy. If not, the 49ers still have the power to trade the talented player for a potentially high draft pick.
Either way, Smith is now under team control through the 2015 season, and the squad can delay any long-term decision surrounding the player. He will now have a few more years to prove himself in all aspects as he hopes to be part of the future in San Francisco.
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