By Bryan Rose
May 01, 2014

Aldon Smith contract option: San Francisco 49ers expected to exercise fifth year The 49ers must make a decision on Aldon Smith's option by May 3. (Robert Beck/SI)

The San Francisco 49ers face the tough task of deciding whether or not to exercise the fifth-year option on Aldon Smith's contract before knowing how his legal woes will play out.

Smith is dealing with a rash of legal issues which include a DWI, potential misdemeanor charges stemming from an alleged bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport and three felony weapons charges. Smith could face jail time as result of the weapons charges.

Unfortunately for San Francisco, time isn't on its side as it must exercise or decline his contractual option by Saturday, May 3.

Reports leaked quickly after Smith's arrest for the alleged bomb threat that San Francisco was unlikely to pick up the near $10 million dollar option, but that doesn't appear to be the case, according to CBS' Jason La Canfora.

"The 49ers decision on Aldon Smith, given his extensive off-field issues, will be watched closely," writes La Canfora, "with several league sources anticipating [ultimately] San Francisco will exercise that option for 2015."

San Francisco is seemingly between a rock and a hard spot here as it awaits any legal ramifications from Smith's off-field issues. Given his ability, you certainly don't want to walk away before he enters the prime of his career if you don't have to. Then again, you have to wonder how many chances the 49ers can keep giving the Pro Bowl linebacker.

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