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49ers exercise fifth-year option on Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith AP

Although Aldon Smith’s future is in doubt because of multiple off-field issues, the 49ers have given him a vote of confidence today by exercising the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

That doesn’t mean Smith will definitely be with the 49ers into 2015, but it does mean the 49ers want to have the ability to keep him around. The 2015 option is guaranteed only for injury, meaning the 49ers could still cut him and not have to pay him in 2015, as long as he’s able to pass a physical. The 49ers would also not have to pay him if he is unable to play because of legal issues or an NFL suspension.

The option gives Smith a $9.75 million salary in 2015. That’s a lot of money, but he’s worth it if he plays the way he’s capable of playing. At his best, Smith is one of the NFL’s elite pass rushers.

But at his worst, Smith is a guy who can’t stay out of trouble. From multiple drunk driving arrests to felony charges of illegally possessing assault weapons to allegedly making a false bomb threat at an airport, Smith has repeatedly given the 49ers off-field headaches. The 49ers’ decision today is a sign that they think he has a chance to put his off-field issues behind him, but it doesn’t wed them to Smith going forward if he can’t clean up his act.

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96 Responses to “49ers exercise fifth-year option on Aldon Smith”
  1. whosgotitbetterthanruss says: May 2, 2014 4:24 PM

    What a mistake. The guy is a known criminal, but that doesn’t falter the San Francisco Flight Risks. Who’s surprised?

    #DYNASTY
    #REPETE
    #ABOVEREPROACH

  2. raider8er says: May 2, 2014 4:25 PM

    Oh me, oh my. What a shock.

    Still, I would have done the same. He is an amazing talent.

  3. trevor123698 says: May 2, 2014 4:26 PM

    I think it was a mistake.

  4. facetooth says: May 2, 2014 4:28 PM

    Aldon Smith? More like His-Career-is-Alldone Smith. This guy is screwy!

  5. thepftpoet says: May 2, 2014 4:28 PM

    Aldon Smith is still less of a criminal than Richard Sherman, Pete Carroll and Marshawn Lynch.

    #TeamPEDs

  6. thenoblebard93 says: May 2, 2014 4:29 PM

    In a shocker that surprised absolutely no one.

  7. packfanaj12 says: May 2, 2014 4:29 PM

    As a Packers fan, I am glad the team is backing him at this point (as a team should when they invest in a player), however he needs to stay out of trouble… The 49ers have given this guy every opportunity to figure out his personal issues, and now its time for him to nut up or ship out…

  8. giantseahawk says: May 2, 2014 4:30 PM

    If the Niners had let Aldon go, 31 teams would have been fighting it sign him. This list includes my Hawks.

  9. sfm073 says: May 2, 2014 4:30 PM

    Today’s decision means his production on the field outweighs his off the field troubles.

  10. killitandeatit says: May 2, 2014 4:30 PM

    At the end of the day I will say a little prayer and give thanks. This is the best for Aldon and of course the 49er organization. Hey , he DID NOT HAVE A BOMB and his “weapons violation” is because he is in California. The same weapon is legal in 90% of the rest of the country. Don’t drink and drive.

  11. disp2 says: May 2, 2014 4:30 PM

    Smart move. If something happens in the next year off the field they can just walk away. Good front offices make smart personnel decisions instead of listening to the media hysteria, and that’s what we’re seeing here.

  12. tolan04 says: May 2, 2014 4:31 PM

    He’ll be out of the league by then

  13. goldbloodedindfw says: May 2, 2014 4:32 PM

    Haha yeah cause I’m sure the wonderful, morally superior seahawks would’ve let one of the best players in the league go.

  14. andreboy1 says: May 2, 2014 4:32 PM

    The guy is a top five pass rusher by any standard.

    The NFL is about one thing: WINNING

    #ABOVEREPROACH (except for the adderall)

  15. canetic says: May 2, 2014 4:32 PM

    And then the NFL will suspend him for 2015

  16. trollhammer20 says: May 2, 2014 4:34 PM

    I’m sure that he’s learned his lesson from the stern exercise of waiting until the last possible moment to give him nearly ten million dollars.

    Yep. That’ll teach him!

  17. jeffnfl says: May 2, 2014 4:34 PM

    Is anyone really surprised?

    We know as well as Harbaugh and Balke, if he were released his first three stops as a FA would be Arizona, Seattle, St. Louis.

  18. thestrategyexpert says: May 2, 2014 4:34 PM

    It probably wasn’t an easy decision, but the team didn’t want to see him have a monster year and then put them in a bind to pay him a lot more money or lose him to a division rival like what the Eagles did with DeSean Jackson and what the Lions are tempting with Nick Fairley.

  19. mingyabro says: May 2, 2014 4:35 PM

    Unbelievable! If you can still produce, we still want you around. However if your on the decline and this stuff happens, ahh well, sorry we gotta cut you, we cant have that crap around our team. Such bs

  20. vikesr4reel says: May 2, 2014 4:36 PM

    Patriots II

    Win at all costs with no moral values

    Real nice niners

  21. gibbskins9 says: May 2, 2014 4:36 PM

    Of course they do, it.s football

  22. allidoiswin55 says: May 2, 2014 4:37 PM

    Above reproach indeed!

  23. braceyourselffor12 says: May 2, 2014 4:37 PM

    About time. Now for all you disingenuous self righteous posters, we watch a brutal contact sport called football. These guys are paid millions to perform on the field not to satisfy your moral expectations.

    Glad that’s Aldon with, let the games begin!

  24. trumb1mj says: May 2, 2014 4:38 PM

    Some organizations just don’t get beat up by the media for constantly giving troubled players another chance… I can only imagine if a team that wasn’t a darling did this!

  25. woodsidegil says: May 2, 2014 4:39 PM

    Smart business decision. He will be on a short leash, and if he screws up again, he’s gone. Also, if the Commish suspends him, I assume that he will forfeit pay, which means it doesn’t cost the team $$$ if he doesn’t play.

  26. sonoco says: May 2, 2014 4:40 PM

    It’s a mistake according to only those who’d be begging their team to pursue him if was available.

  27. cheddarisbeddar says: May 2, 2014 4:40 PM

    Contributing to and enabling incompetence.

    Well done ’9ers. Well done.

  28. tennesseeoilers says: May 2, 2014 4:41 PM

    OF course they did.

    Classy as ever, Santa Clara.

  29. theclink12 says: May 2, 2014 4:42 PM

    Yep…above reproach in everything they do.

    #HypocriticalFranchise

  30. bucrightoff says: May 2, 2014 4:44 PM

    Talent >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Character.

    And it will never change. Why would it? Without guaranteed contracts, you can always wipe away a guy after you’ve given him enough chances (which of course depends on how talented he is)

  31. scoreatwill says: May 2, 2014 4:44 PM

    An amazing talent but I would bet there will be an off the field issue again before the season kicks off in 2015!

  32. joey49er says: May 2, 2014 4:45 PM

    aldon has more sacks in the last 3 yrs than seattles whole d line men….look it up its a fact..42 sacks dude is a beast…

  33. 6thsense10 says: May 2, 2014 4:46 PM

    So the 49ers can cut him at almost any point without paying the option. Please tell me where the mistake is here.

  34. endzonepete says: May 2, 2014 4:47 PM

    No one should be surprised that SF is going to put winning ahead of what’s best for Smith or the team. Just wait until they draft Jameis Winston next year…

  35. kamthechancellor says: May 2, 2014 4:48 PM

    Did anyone not see this coming?

  36. 1rockyracoon says: May 2, 2014 4:50 PM

    The 49′ers should never again talk about morality, good character, or leadership. I would like to know what it would have taken for them not to pick up the option. I dislike the Seahawks, but I’ll be rooting for them to beat this fraud of an organization.

  37. kamthechancellor says: May 2, 2014 4:52 PM

    Who even cares? He’s just going to f up again. Just wait for it.

  38. cmich2006 says: May 2, 2014 4:52 PM

    Hypocrites…. “Family” as long as you can play…back up gets cut along time ago.

  39. lovethose2adays says: May 2, 2014 4:53 PM

    Not a GM in the league wouldn’t have done the same.. funny, it almost seems like fans of other teams was wishing the niners were stupid enough not to exercise his option.

  40. sumkat says: May 2, 2014 4:54 PM

    I’d of done the option too. If he gets in any more trouble, they can still cut him

  41. dacktle49 says: May 2, 2014 4:58 PM

    Shocker! Just like every other NFL franchise would.

    #BESTPASSRUSHERINTHENFL
    #THE49ERSAREADYNASTY
    #YOULOVETHE49ERS
    #ONE&DONE
    #PETETHECHEAT
    #BANDWAGONER

  42. dacktle49 says: May 2, 2014 4:59 PM

    Shocker! Just like every other NFL franchise would.

    #BESTPASRUSHERINTHENFL
    #THE49ERSAREADYNASTY
    #YOULOVETHE49ERS
    #ONE&DONE
    #PETETHECHEAT
    #BANDWAGONER

  43. joey49er says: May 2, 2014 5:03 PM

    All these haters keep on hating…. the 49ers have been to 3 nfc championship games and and a superbowl…talking about great players the 49ers are loaded..all these other fans saying they would not want kapp or aldon on their team can keep watching the niners play for a trophy why their team is watching just like them..

  44. southpaw79 says: May 2, 2014 5:10 PM

    Prediction:

    He will be suspended for 4 games, have 12 regular season starts, and finish with 14 sacks. I have no doubts he will get though the season just fine, the danger comes next offseason when he is not supervised.

  45. despenc925 says: May 2, 2014 5:13 PM

    oh yes…I love the hate!!

  46. radar8 says: May 2, 2014 5:14 PM

    whosgotitbetterthanruss says:
    May 2, 2014 4:24 PM
    What a mistake. The guy is a known criminal, but that doesn’t falter the San Francisco Flight Risks. Who’s surprised?

    #DYNASTY
    #REPETE
    #ABOVEREPROACH

    #LEARNTOSPELL

    The Niners tied up Smith only to keep him away from Seattle. If the Niners cut Smith, Carroll would be pumping full of adderall within minutes

  47. sonoco says: May 2, 2014 5:16 PM

    If you think it’s a bad move you’re a football ingenue.

  48. northshorejag says: May 2, 2014 5:16 PM

    They told him they’d ship him to the jags if he fouls up again

  49. clemenza58 says: May 2, 2014 5:17 PM

    Ah, the “49er way” at work.

  50. cakesw says: May 2, 2014 5:19 PM

    The 49ers need to find out is Aldon Smith, is just a by product of Justin Smith…

    I do think Corey Lemonier could put up big numbers in SFs defense.

  51. natepalmer1 says: May 2, 2014 5:20 PM

    Aldon Smith could get indicted for murder and the 40whiners would still play him if they could…
    They will never see a SB in this generation ever again, let alone win one…

  52. praetorian12 says: May 2, 2014 5:25 PM

    Catch 22 for San Fran: they lose, him, they lose his talent. They keep him, they devote a big chunk of their cap to an unreliable player who may be suspended or jailed. No right answer for the Niners here.

  53. floratiotime says: May 2, 2014 5:27 PM

    The Niners know that the best way to change someones behavior is to give them lots of money. This always works.

  54. niftyplifty says: May 2, 2014 5:29 PM

    He still should be suspended … the fact that the NFL is dragging their feet on this, while Justin Blackmon has already been suspended indefinitely just shows a name brand preference. Get two DUIS and a weapons charge and another misdemeanor charge for one of our biggest brand teams? Hmmm… we have to think about it. Get two DUIs in Jacksonville … get outta the league!

  55. fordmandalay says: May 2, 2014 5:38 PM

    Hey, he hasn’t murdered anyone IN PUBLIC yet, so in the NFL’s eye he’s still good to go.

  56. thegrigga49 says: May 2, 2014 5:44 PM

    Harbaalke would rather stand on fire then cut a perennial 15 sack player. It’s not in their DNA. Proud to be a Niners fan!

  57. ronfai says: May 2, 2014 5:47 PM

    I LOVE how Seattle fans are really upset and lash out by calling the Niners ‘classless’. What just happened? Aldon will be terrorizing that midget quarterback up in Seattle for years and years and years and years.

  58. ronfai says: May 2, 2014 5:53 PM

    @niftyplifty Sorry but I wouldn’t trade anything for a franchise like Jacksonville – what’s their “good name” gotten them lately? Besides, I do believe it’s messed up to bench Blackmon because of his issues – they are ruining a talented young man’s career – cut him so he can take his chances somewhere else or help him through his problems – but it’s cold as ice to leave him hanging on the bench because of non violent past transgressions

  59. samapoc says: May 2, 2014 6:02 PM

    best last chance ever.

  60. jburk003 says: May 2, 2014 6:06 PM

    Yes sir!

  61. southpaw79 says: May 2, 2014 6:07 PM

    floratiotime says:
    The Niners know that the best way to change someones behavior is to give them lots of money. This always works.

    ** Well, yeah! I do not know about you, but my natural behavior does not require me to wake up every morning to go to work. It is the paycheck that modifies my behavior.

  62. jacqvoncc says: May 2, 2014 6:17 PM

    “All these haters keep on hating…. the 49ers have been to 3 nfc championship games and a superbowl”…and have absolutely NOTHING to show for it.

    “Aldon has more sacks in the last 3 yrs than seattles whole d line men”…Seattle’s d-line men have more Superbowl rings than the whole Niners roster.

  63. hugeredskinsfan says: May 2, 2014 6:37 PM

    Spend the cash and keep the amazing talent.

  64. thegreatgabbert says: May 2, 2014 6:39 PM

    Al time great photograph. All time.

  65. teedraper says: May 2, 2014 6:40 PM

    Of course they did! They always would have. Only the PFT idiots thought they wouldn’t

  66. muathjam21 says: May 2, 2014 6:48 PM

    Dude’s just too good. If it was a middle of the line player, he would’ve been gone last year.

  67. joey49er says: May 2, 2014 6:55 PM

    Niners are 5 time superbowl champs!! and seattle has 1 in can u say 30 yrs …..now that’s funny right there…30 yrrrrrrrrrrsssssssss

  68. docboss says: May 2, 2014 6:57 PM

    This is a small gamble for the 49ers. As a Ram’s fan I hate it. (Of course). Even if he becomes “worthless” at 9 million, the 49ers have enough draft picks and cap room (until they pay their QB), to be be among the top 4 teams in the entire NFL. Only injuries will change the hierarchy in the NFC West in 2014. ‘Hawks=49ers then ‘Cards=Rams.

  69. aceakking says: May 2, 2014 7:00 PM

    Crime pays in SF.

  70. jimthebuilder27 says: May 2, 2014 7:08 PM

    Harbaugh is such an enabler that its not even funny.

    Goodell won’t punish him, no way he punishes his favorite team.

  71. jboard1 says: May 2, 2014 7:08 PM

    ^^^BOOM!

  72. joey49er says: May 2, 2014 7:09 PM

    By the rate seacheats are goin it would take them 150 yrs just to canch up with the 49ers…

  73. nicofthenorthstar says: May 2, 2014 7:10 PM

    When reached for comment, Smith said, “I have received management’s message loud and clear. I will continue behaving like a complete imbecile of a train wreck off the field in hopes of earning a long career with this club.”

  74. iamdinguskhan says: May 2, 2014 7:15 PM

    I understand both sides of this argument this guy has elite talent but he is a major head case. He will totally implode before its all said and done.

  75. jrebar88 says: May 2, 2014 7:25 PM

    When will the NFL exercise their one year suspension on him?

  76. bigguy54 says: May 2, 2014 7:28 PM

    What if he can pass his physical from a jail cell?

    killitandeatit says:
    May 2, 2014 4:30 PM
    At the end of the day I will say a little prayer and give thanks. This is the best for Aldon and of course the 49er organization. Hey , he DID NOT HAVE A BOMB and his “weapons violation” is because he is in California. The same weapon is legal in 90% of the rest of the country. Don’t drink and drive.
    ______________________________________

    Here is the problem with your logic, even though it is a dumb law, it is a law. I would love to own an automatic weapon. Not so I can go shoot a bunch of people, it would be fun to shoot one. I love to shoot, it is like driving fast. I don’t do either (well drive fast anymore because I am older) because it is illegal.

    The problem I have is not the fact they picked up the option. He is a great talent. The problem is the two faced nature of the Org. They are above reproach, because Seattle had a guy serve a suspension when getting busted for taking PED’s when on another team, and one that was an UDFA that never made it to a preseason game. We had fewer players actually on the main roster get busted than other teams, but nobody pays attention to that. They are the flavor to hate, and SF because they used to be a dynasty, is forgiven for Aldon, and bashing a beer bottle into a teammates head etc. I respect many old time SF Fans, I don’t respect the ones that have SF and Oak gear in the closet, and switch to the team that is hot. Seattle has bandwagon fans too, and they are usually the stupid obnoxious fans.

    I have followed this team from day one, and never wavered. I hate when one of my teams players get bad press, just like I am sure fans of every team does. The problem is because of Seattle’s success, they are easy to hate right now. Some of you converted Raider fans remember the good days the Hawks had, we had some epic games. You also remember the Dome being loud. It is not just a clink thing. It when Behring tried to ruin and steal the team to LA the Dome was full. To say otherwise is a lie. Neither team has perfect players on them. They have some great athletes, and it is a great rivalry. We have what you like to call “Pete the Cheat”, you have “Hardblow”. I will take Pete any day over what you have, but that is just me. I will also take my short QB, over the what you have too, but that is neither here nor there. I love the rivalry, and hope it continues.

    Joey49′er talk about what you have done, dust off the old trophy’s, but none of your players have earned a ring in SF. They also will not earn one this year. I know you will be upset, but you will take 3rd in the NFCW, because the Cards will pass you up.

  77. footballfan71 says: May 2, 2014 7:45 PM

    joey49er says:
    May 2, 2014 6:55 PM

    Niners are 5 time superbowl champs!! and seattle has 1 in can u say 30 yrs …..now that’s funny right there…30 yrrrrrrrrrrsssssssss
    ================================

    What is more funny is that you do not even know your team’s history. It took longer for SF to win a SB. 35 years. Seattle did it quicker. Idiot.

  78. tictoccpthook says: May 2, 2014 7:49 PM

    Harbaugh’s next Bowl will be the felony bowl.

  79. hawkstradamus says: May 2, 2014 7:55 PM

    $600k/sack, economics trump morals on every occasion.

  80. melikefootball says: May 2, 2014 8:07 PM

    And yet God-del has not addressed tis problem child.

  81. paddyok49 says: May 2, 2014 8:14 PM

    footballfan71 says:
    May 2, 2014 7:45 PM
    joey49er says:
    May 2, 2014 6:55 PM

    Niners are 5 time superbowl champs!! and seattle has 1 in can u say 30 yrs …..now that’s funny right there…30 yrrrrrrrrrrsssssssss
    ================================

    What is more funny is that you do not even know your team’s history. It took longer for SF to win a SB. 35 years. Seattle did it quicker. Idiot.

    Seattle didn’t do it quicker. Niners 35 years (’46-’81)…32 if you only count years in the NFL since their first three were in the AAFC. Seattle 37 years (’76-’13). We know our history, know yours

  82. realnflmaster says: May 2, 2014 8:38 PM

    Keep rewarding this hoodlum!

  83. jedyknyt says: May 2, 2014 8:55 PM

    It would be an atrocity if this dude doesn’t get a 4 game suspension to start the season!!!!

    Sincerely…all the other nut jobs that have been suspended in the past.

  84. ptfpoetlovestheseahawks says: May 2, 2014 9:16 PM

    Niners catchphrase……. “Crime Pays” literally

  85. jimthebuilder27 says: May 2, 2014 9:24 PM

    Hey San Fran fans, when was the last Super Bowl the Whiners won?

    At least the Packers (Super Bowls 31 and 45) and the Seahawks (48) have recently won Super Bowls in under 20 years!

  86. higheriqthanyou says: May 2, 2014 9:55 PM

    I hope they keep him and pay him a lot, along with Krap and others. Since Harbaugh has no moral compass just as Smith, just as Kap, he’ll lead them all over the cliff.

    Going to be fun to watch.

  87. Dogsweat says: May 2, 2014 9:57 PM

    It’s a great signing, keep up the great work Santa Clara 49ers.

    Raider Nation.

  88. kvnhlstd says: May 2, 2014 10:00 PM

    Read a stat on another story that A Smith has only had 4 sacks when not lined up next to J Smith… looks like Aldon owes Justin a few steak dinners. One Smith has made the other look pretty good… on the field that is.

  89. bert1913 says: May 2, 2014 10:17 PM

    santa clara got a new team with free baggage

  90. ronfai says: May 2, 2014 10:24 PM

    He may not even be charged by courts for what will at most be a misdemeanor. Sure he’s a knucklehead but this was not a alcohol related event. For all calling for his head, stop being so disingenuous and say what it is: you hate the niners and scared of Aldon. ..don’t blame you.

    By the way took 49ers 14 years since inception of the Superbowl to win first of 5. Took Seahawks 37 years since inception of team. Kaepernick has played in as many championship games as the entire Seattle franchise. What a joke of a team.

  91. 1greatusername says: May 2, 2014 11:36 PM

    It’s a business, we all know that.

    Sometimes it feels like teams hang on to a mediocre player when they shouldn’t.. I have to think it’s difficult to get rid of a person whose character contributes to your team, even if the skills are just not there.

    Aldon’s case will be different. He’s 25 and physically healthy right now. How long does that last, given his apparent lifestyle?

    The *minute* this guy’s play slips or he gets hurt, Baalke’s “door” suddenly opens and out he goes. No regrets, no guilt, easy peazy. Buh-bye.

    That’s just business. Sometimes it’s a good thing.

  92. jayniner says: May 3, 2014 1:20 AM

    Apparently everyone has forgotten he was convicted in the court of public opinion and not in a court of law…yet.

  93. Great Caesar's Ghost says: May 3, 2014 2:11 AM

    No Lombardis since 1994.

  94. mrwoodz511 says: May 3, 2014 4:05 AM

    To those saying this rewards him, maybe you should consider the alternative?

    If he isn’t extended he goes to free agency, and what would he get there, if he continues at his one sack per game average – do you think it would be less than the $9.7m? If so, you are kidding yourself.

    Admittedly teams could build contingencies into future deals, where he gets cut if off field issues continue, but that applies to this extension too. It isn’t guaranteed til March 2015.

    As for why he hasn’t been suspended, the NFL will wait until legal process is complete. Then I’m sure a 4 game suspension would be likely, as he hasn’t been suspended previously. That will likely be in time for season starting.

  95. vetelmo says: May 3, 2014 5:09 AM

    What? Another Kawakami story is proven wrong AGAIN??? He is not a true reporter. He needs to be in a fiction section of the sports pages.

  96. joetoronto says: May 3, 2014 6:27 AM

    Harbaugh has no right to talk bad about other teams.

    The team of turds has no class.

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