As we’ve all seen in the last couple of years, Aldon Smith is a train wreck. In between shooting guns at parties, getting stabbed, and shouting bomb threats in the middle of airports, the San Francisco 49ers’ stud linebacker has become the epitome of what people perceive as the “typical NFL player.”
Still, the 49ers decided on Friday to exercise his fifth-year option, keeing him in San Francisco through the 2015 campaign. Essentially, they’ll be paying him $9.75 million in 2015 to be a liability and further trash the team’s image. Even if there’s still some trade value left in the former first-round pick, it’ll be gone before the 49ers can find a willing suitor.
His most recent run-in with the law – the whole “airport bomb threat” thing – should have been the final straw for the 49ers. Although Smith is clearly a top-tier playmaker capable of victimizing opposing quarterbacks at ease, he simply isn’t worth the headaches that he causes. It’s as if he can’t help but keep himself in the headlines.
Smith is likely facing a significant suspension from the NFL assuming he doesn’t land behind bars for his idiocy. The over/under right now is six games, which would mean that he’d likely only see the field for a little more than half of the 49ers’ games in 2014. By that point, though, there’s a good chance that he’ll have found his way into more trouble – history shows us that’s a likely scenario.
Put simply, Smith is going to land himself in hot water enough times until there are no more freebies or mulligans for him to burn. If he hasn’t learned yet, he isn’t going to anytime soon. As the old saying goes: you can’t fix stupid.
Smith is a great football player, but he’s simply not worth the PR nightmare he’s brought upon the 49ers. I understand their unwillingness to cut the cord, but it’ll be backfire. Just wait and see.