General manager Trent Baalke of the San Francisco 49ers said the team has not given up on troubled linebacker Aldon Smith.
Smith was arrested on April 13 at Los Angeles International Airport for making a fake bomb threat, and officials are pondering misdemeanor charges. Smith also will face felony gun charges and a drunken driving charge in Santa Clara, Calif., on Tuesday.
When asked if the 49ers are counting on Smith for the next two seasons, Baalke said:
“And in 2016 and 2017 and 2018 ... You don’t just open the door and toss people out.”
The 49ers must decide by May 3 if they will exercise a $9.75 million option on Smith for the 2015 season, although ESPN recently reported the 49ers are not expected to do that.
If they decide not to, but decide later to keep him, the 49ers would have to give him a long-term deal or apply the franchise tag to him, which probably would be in the $12-million to $13-million range.
Baalke said Smith is working with the team during its offseason conditioning program.