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The 49ers must make a formal decision on Aldon Smith’s future prior by 9 p.m. (PT) Friday, and a source indicated the 49ers are likely to wait as long as possible to make their final call.
Multiple outlets, citing an unnamed team source, have reported the 49ers were “unlikely” to pick up the fifth-year option on Smith for the 2015 season at $9.754 million in the wake of his latest off-field incident. CEO Jed York must sign off on any decision about Smith’s future.
But 49ers general manager Trent Baalke made it clear last week where he stands on the issue. While speaking with reporters during a session to speak about the draft, Baalke said he has not giving up on Smith. He said he hopes Smith will remain with the 49ers for 2015 and beyond.
[RELATED: Baalke pledges support for Aldon Smith]
Smith was the No. 7 pick in the 2011 draft. The teams of the six players selected in front of him have already picked up the options on those players: Cam Newton (Carolina), Von Miller (Denver), Marcell Dareus (Buffalo), A.J. Green (Cincinnati), Patrick Peterson (Arizona) and Julio Jones (Atlanta).
If the 49ers pick up the option on Smith, the $9.754 million salary would be guaranteed for injury only. It becomes fully guaranteed on the first day of the 2015 league year.
If the 49ers pick up the option, they could trade Smith’s rights. If they do not pick up the fifth-year option, he would be scheduled for unrestricted free agency after next season – as long as a possible NFL suspension is not longer than 10 weeks.