49ers

Aldon Smith signs 1-year deal with Raiders, charged with three crimes on same day

Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders and Aldon Smith have agreed to a one-year contract on the same day the pass rusher was charged with three crimes by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, according to Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee

Smith, a San Francisco 49ers 2011 first-round draft pick, has been arrested five times since entering the NFL. The latest incident involved a hit-and-run and subsequent DUI charge on Aug. 6. The 49ers cut ties with him after the latest run in with law enforcement, but were committed to helping the player work through his numerous personal conduct issues even after he left the team facility. 

The Raiders are taking a conservative approach with the one-year deal, and could see a significant low-risk reward if Smith can perform anywhere near his capability. In 2012, Smith was an All-Pro and totaled 19.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception in 16 starts. 

Unfortunately in four seasons, he’s only played a full 16 games twice — his rookie and second seasons. Legal trouble has marred his career from the onset, and he’s his own worst enemy on Sundays. In 2013, Smith missed six games due to a self-imposed rehab stint following a prior DUI arrest. 

The Raiders are comfortable with the risk.

“We are confident that the Raiders provide an environment where Aldon can thrive through the support, structure and leadership within the building,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said in a statement via The Sacramento Bee. “We are excited to have Aldon here in the Raiders family.”

The 49ers are also rooting for him to succeed, despite Smith wearing their Bay Area rival’s colors. Via The Sacramento Bee: 

“I’m all about Aldon,” linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “Whatever is best for him. He’s my friend. He was my teammate. Whatever is best for him. He’s got his family to take care of, and that’s dependent on him. … I’m excited for him to have another opportunity to go out there and play this game that he loves. Hopefully he realizes the opportunity that he has and stays on track.”

This season will be a critical year in Smith’s career. On one hand, he could turn things around and warrant a long-term contract. However, if he falls out of favor with a second team, his career could be in jeopardy. 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His credits include Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report, among others.
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