The San Francisco 49ers answered an important offseason question by exercising the 2015 contract option on Aldon Smith. This is a wise procedural move by the 49ers, as it ensures Smith will be under their control through 2015, however it does not obligate them to keep him.
ESPN.com reports that the 49ers now have until March of 2015 to make their final decision on Smith and his $9.75 million contract. The contract is only guaranteed if Smith sustains an injury in 2014 that affects his availability in 2015.
The 49ers can still cut or trade Smith anytime before March of next year, without being obligated to honor the contract. This enables San Francisco to see how Smith behaves over the next year and also enables the 49ers to see how Smith's legal situation unfolds.
With the draft coming up later this week, there are still several important questions the 49ers must answer. Let's take a closer look at five of the most important decisions the 49ers and general manager Trent Baalke must make.