Aldon Smith: San Francisco 49ers have decisions to make on linebacker’s future

It wasn’t long ago that the San Francisco 49ers were faced the possibility of having to pay out long term, big money contracts to Colin Kaepernick and Aldon Smith. Now, less than a year later, it appears at least one of them may not have a future with the team after all.

Smith was recently detained at LAX airport after becoming agitated when he was randomly selected for a second TSA screening at a terminal. Smith allegedly said he had a bomb. If convicted of a false bomb report, he could face up to a year in jail.

This latest incident is just another in a long line of off the field issues that are no doubt trying the 49ers’ patience. In November, Smith pleaded not guilty to felony gun charges stemming from an incident at his home in 2012. He was also arrested multiple times for drunken driving, the second of which caused him to miss five games last season as he was forced in enter a rehab facility.

The 49ers have an option to exercise a fifth-year on Smith’s rookie contract which would keep him in San Francisco through 2015. Given the recent events, it’s unknown if the 49ers plan on adding the extra year.

What they do with that option will tell a lot about where Smith is headed. If they choose not to exercise it, his days in San Francisco are surely numbered. If they do, it gives the appearance that the 49ers are still willing to work with Smith in hopes that he can clean himself up.

While Smith is talented, the Niners have proven they can win without him. They went 5-0 during Smith’s absence in 2013, and the defense only gave up a little over 12 points a game during that stretch. The 49ers are deep and talented in the front seven, and could decide they are better off drafting a replacement for Smith or investing further in soon to be second-year linebacker Corey Lemonier.

Regardless of which way they go, Smith is on thin ice at the moment. If he doesn’t change his life around, he could be wasting away what has the potential to be a Hall of Fame career.

Photo: Getty Images

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Al Sacco

Al Sacco is sports expert who knows football, baseball, basketball and hockey. He has spent his time as a sports journalist covering the San Francisco 49ers as a contributor to 49erswebzone.com and Ninerfans.com. He's been a guest on numerous podcasts and has had his work used on ESPN NFL Insiders and USA TODAY.


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