According to a report, the San Francisco 49ers are likely to decline the fifth-year option on the contract of linebacker Aldon Smith.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported via Twitter, citing a league source:
49ers are not expected to pick up the fifth-year option on LB Aldon Smith’s contract, per league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 18, 2014
Smith has been a pass-rushing beast in his first three seasons for the 49ers with 42 sacks in 43 career games, including a franchise-record 19.5 in 2012. He also has an interception, five forced fumbles and 137 tackles through his first three years.
But he missed five games in 2013 after checking himself into a rehabilitation clinic in the wake of a September arrest for DUI and marijuana possession.
An All-Pro in 2012, Smith is also facing an April 29 court date stemming from three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon in connection with a party at his home in June 2012. Smith was also sued by a man claiming he was shot by Smith at the same party.
That’s not the end of his rap sheet. He had a previous DUI in 2012 and last weekend was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport, where he allegedly indicated he had a bomb while going through secondary screening.
Smith finished last season with 8.5 sacks and 34 tackles, but recorded 3.5 sacks and 11 tackles in three playoff games, including two sacks in the NFC Championship at Seattle.
The bottom line is that the NFL has a talent-tolerance scale and despite Smith’s enormous talent, it appears he’s used up whatever goodwill he had left inside the club’s offices in Santa Clara. Considering Smith will likely face some sort of league discipline in the form of a suspension once his various legal issues play out—or perhaps before, given commissioner Roger Goodell’s fondness for “protecting the shield”—one has to question how much, if anything, Smith will be able to contribute to the 49ers in 2014.
The fact the 49ers are reportedly going to bypass their final year of team control on Smith speaks volumes to the extent of which the organization’s patience has worn thin.
Smith was the seventh overall selection by the 49ers out of Missouri in 2011 after recording 14.5 sacks in two seasons there. He burst onto the scene with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for losses as a redshirt freshman in 2009 before dealing with nagging injuries as a sophomore prior to declaring for the draft.