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49ers exercise Smith's contract option

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 02 2014 03:59:04 PM CDT
Updated On: May 02 2014 03:59:05 PM CDT

The San Francisco 49ers picked up the fifth-year option on defensive end Aldon Smith's rookie contract Friday.

The option year is worth $9.75 million in 2015 but is only guaranteed if he suffers a major injury. It does not become fully guaranteed next March if he is still with the team.

The 49ers have the option to release Smith before the 2015 season. The team also would not be required to pay him in the event of an NFL suspension or because of his legal issues.

Smith's most recent off-the-field transgression was allegedly making a false bomb threat at the Los Angeles airport. He also has been arrested in the past on drunken driving charges and illegal possession of assault weapons.

49ers general manager Trent Baalke said last week that the team is standing behind Smith and not turn their backs on him because of his legal trouble.

Considered one of the NFL's top pass rushers, Smith has 42 sacks in 43 career regular-season games. He was the 49ers' first-round draft pick in 2011.