The 49ers may not be inclined to extend linebacker Aldon Smith’s stay until 2015, but that doesn’t mean they’re done with him in 2014.
The team currently doesn’t plan to release Smith, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
It’s not a surprise. Cutting Smith would mean he would get a second chance with another team — possibly another team in the NFC West. Since he doesn’t have four years of service, however, Smith would be subject to waivers.
Before cutting Smith, the 49ers surely would try to trade him. Every player with talent gets a second chance, and every coach thinks he’s the guy who can get through to a player who doesn’t get it.
As we’ve previously explained, a pair of off-field incidents falling under the Personal Conduct Policy makes Smith susceptible to a suspension even without resolution of his pending charges. Also, the 49ers could put Smith on the non-football injury/illness list if the team believes that his alcohol issues have returned, and that he needs further treatment.