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49ers salary cap: Aldon Smith future contract comparisons

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The San Francisco 49ers face some big questions in the coming years as they have a host of big-name players hitting free agency. We take a look at potential contract parameters for outside linebacker Aldon Smith.

Christian Petersen

Earlier this week, Clay Matthews agreed to terms with the Green Bay Packers on a five year contract extension worth a reported $66 million. In light of our series of articles on potential contract extensions for young members of the 49ers, now seemed as good a time as any to open some discussion on Aldon Smith. The 49ers outside linebacker cannot sign a contract extension until after the coming season. Given his first two seasons, it is safe to say he will cost the 49ers a sizable chunk of change.

As with the previous discussions, we'll take a look at the deals that have already happened on the market. We will start with Clay Matthews new deal, which you can see at Over the Cap. The new deal makes Matthews the highest paid 3-4 OLB in the NFL, coming in at an approximate average of right at $13.2 million per year. He received a $20.5 million signing bonus as part of the deal, along with a $5 million roster bonus in 2014. He also is scheduled to receive yearly $500,000 roster bonuses starting in 2014, and $500,000 workout bonuses starting this year.

Now there are a few other deals signed recently, including DeMarcus Ware, Dwight Freeney and Mario Williams. However, there is no way the 49ers will pay any player outside of a QB $100 million, or the over $70 million that Ware and Freeney received. That leaves Matthews and Tamba Hali as the only real comps to consider.

Hali would be on the low side of a deal. You can review the details at Over the Cap. Hali received a 5-year, $57.5 million deal, with $16 million guaranteed. He received a $15 million signing bonus, plus a $1 million guarantee in his 2011 base salary. He also can earn annual $250,000 workout bonuses, and $2 million roster bonuses due in 2014 and 2015.

It's very clear that Smith will get paid. It just depends on whether he takes a reasonable deal, and if the 49ers are willing to pay to keep one of the league's top young pass rushers in the Bay Area.