The 49ers announced they have exercised the 2015 option on Aldon Smith on Friday afternoon. This happens hours before the 9:00 p.m. PT deadline with several headlines happening to the OLB prior to this week.
The 2015 option is worth $9.75 million and would be only guaranteed if he suffers a major injury in 2014. It would become fully guaranteed in March 2015 if he stays on the team.
Originally the seventh overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Smith has lived up to the hype as he set a record for sacks for a player in his first two years in the NFL. His second season of 2012 had him set a franchise record for most sacks in a single-season with 19.5.
Smith has been in trouble throughout the offseason with a DUI in January 2012 and a house party incident in June 2012 where he is facing charges for the possession of assault weapons. He went through a preliminary hearing earlier this week with no updates.
He is also in consideration for misdemeanor after he wasn't willing to cooperate with the security at LAX while making a false bomb alert. He was released on bail at $20,000. Smith also had a DUI in September 2012 prior to a 49ers practice in Santa Clara where he served an indefinite suspension in rehab. The 49ers went 5-0 with Smith not on the roster before he returned in Week 10.
Trent Baalke seemed very committed to the OLB despite the off the field issues. While he is "disappointed" in what Smith has done, he said last week he is looking for a solution to it all.
"I’m a firm believer in the humanistic approach to everything," Baalke said last Friday. "You continue to work, just like you would with any family member. We’re a family. You just don’t open the door and toss people out of it. You continue to work until they leave you no choice."
The $9.75 million salary could be off the books if the 49ers choose to cut him before the March 2015 deadline. They could also keep him or make a new deal if he flourishes.