The San Francisco 49ers continue to have the offseason from hell. After watching stars like Patrick Willis, Chris Borland and Justin Smith walk away in retirement, the Niners had to say good-bye to yet another stud defensive presence on Friday afternoon. Due to countless run-ins with the law, the 49ers opted to officially cut ties with linebacker Aldon Smith, per reports.
FILED TO ESPN: 49ers to release Aldon Smith.
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) August 7, 2015
Aldon Smith’s latest incident reportedly involved a hit-and-run and allegedly a DUI. Smith himself contested that he did not get another DUI, but details are still emerging involving his latest off field issues.
Regardless of what the truth ends up being, San Francisco has had enough of Aldon Smith’s antics. The 25-year old has officially been released after being handed his third alleged DUI since entering the league in 2011.
It’s a sad story that involves clear mental instability with Smith, a situation in which the Niners organization has tried helping the troubled star with in the past. It appears their efforts to assist the young defensive star have come to a close, though, and should Smith end up playing in 2015, it will be with another NFL organization.
There’s little doubt someone will take a chance on Smith, as troubled as he may be, as he’s still very much in the prime of his career and notched an impressive 19.5 sacks as recently as 2012. Prospective suitors have to pay mind to Smith’s inability to stay out of trouble, of course, as his poor decision-making and shaky mental state have led to him playing in just 18 of 32 possible games in the past two seasons.
Despite the clear concern, numerous teams seeking pass-rushing help like the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers could all express interest in Smith at some point in the near future. The ultimate slap in San Francisco’s face could be Smith going to a division rival, as the Arizona Cardinals might need his services more than anyone else, while the Seattle Seahawks could be the perfect place for him to turn his career (and life) around.
With Smith out of the picture in the Bay Area, the 49ers will have to regroup with the talent that have in-house right now. They luckily wisely drafted outside linebacker Eli Harold in the 2015 NFL Draft and the edge rusher has already made a positive impact in campe as a dominant force on the outside. Should Harold continue his steady progress, he’d be a good bet to start for the Niners. Aaron Lynch and Corey Lemonier are two other talented Niners pass rushers that could quickly find themselves in the mix to see major time on the field in 2015, as well.
Naturally, the loss of a talent as good as Smith hurts the 49ers’ playoff prospects. Already a bet to win no more than 6.5 games this year, San Francisco’s over/under could see another dip before the season starts. They’re increasingly a poor bet to compete for the Super Bowl, win the NFC West or even make the playoffs. First year head coach Jim Tomsula has a lot on his plate heading into 2015, and coming away with a successful initial run just got a whole lot more difficult.