49ers safety Eric Reid said this week that he and some of his teammates have been trying to convince defensive end Justin Smith to return for another season with the team, but the 49ers are giving the veteran a bit more space while he contemplates his future.
Head coach Jim Tomsula said Friday that the team will give Smith all “the time that he needs” to make up his mind and that he doesn’t doubt that he’ll let the 49ers know as soon as he’s reached that decision. Tomsula also said that Smith’s timing wouldn’t impact the team because they have been well aware that Smith’s nearing the end of the line.
“For four years — you see the D-linemen we’ve brought in — we’ve been making preparations,” Tomsula said, via CSNBayArea.com. “This isn’t a this year thing for us. We’ve been making preparations. A guy gets to 12 years in the National Football League and he’s about a 92-percent rep count playing defensive line, you better start making preparations. That started a while ago.”
The 49ers drafted Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial a couple of years ago and Tony Jerrod-Eddie and Ian Williams made the team as undrafted free agents in the prior two seasons. They join Glenn Dorsey and Darnell Dockett on the top rungs of the depth chart and the 49ers are probably a good bet to use one of their nine draft picks on more help whether or not Smith decides to return.