After making defensive lineman Arik Armstead their first-round pick on Thursday, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said that the selection wasn’t made because of the uncertainty about Justin Smith’s status for 2015.
It was made because the 49ers know they are going to need to replace Smith’s production in the near future whatever he decides about this season. They should have an idea just how soon that need will arise in about a month.
Smith told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee that “you’ll know in about three weeks or so” whether he’s going to return for a 15th and likely final NFL season. Barrows reports that Smith is working out regularly and looks good, although Smith cautioned not to read into that because he’d work out regularly even if he wasn’t returning.
Smith also said that he feels good physically, but added that “everybody feels good at this time of the year” so there’s probably not much to read into that as a hint either.