The San Francisco 49ers have numerous decisions to make in the coming weeks and months, and one might concern defensive tackle. Justin Smith is considering retirement, although it does not appear a decision has been finalized. He declined to talk to the media. If he does retire, it would not shock me at all if he just went off into the sunset and issued a statement through the 49ers.
Alex Flanagan reported yesterday that she was hearing he planned on retiring after the recently completed season. There has not been a follow-up from any other media source, but 49ers players seem like they want to do what they can to convince Cowboy to come back for another year. I think Patrick Willis had the best plan.
(1/2) #49ers Patrick WIllis has a plan to convince Justin Smith to return for a 15th season: "I’m going to talk to his little boys...— Mindi Bach (@MBachCSN) December 29, 2014
(2/2) #49ers Willis:"... I’m going to see if I can talk to them and see if they can run him a little ragged and get him back over this way."— Mindi Bach (@MBachCSN) December 29, 2014
Vic Fangio previously said he would go to Missouri if need be to convince Smith to return for another year. Of course, we don't know Vic Fangio's status, so it may not matter if he treks down to Missouri. I'd love to see another season of Justin Smith, but I also respect that he has been through a lot in his playing career. He's played with significant injuries in recent seasons, so it would not be surprising if he decided to call it quits.
The 49ers have brought in some young defensive line talent, but we would be looking at a major overhaul if Smith retired. He and McDonald will not be on the roster next season, which means two new defensive tackles. This is also assuming the 49ers roll with a 3-4 under the next defensive coordinator (assuming Vic Fangio does not stick around). I would not be surprised if Smith retired this week, but I also would not be surprised if he waited to see what happens with the coaching staff.