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Why the Aldon Smith suspension news might be taking so long

Aldon Smith and the San Francisco 49ers continue to wait for word on his potential suspension. We consider what might be causing the delay.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest questions facing the San Francisco 49ers is what kind of punishment the Roger Goodell will impose on Aldon Smith. The commissioner met with Smith on the Thursday, August 7 to discuss his off the field incidents, including the DUI and gun charges, and likely his LAX bomb threat incident as well. We have since waited to hear some word on what kind of suspension Smith will face.

The delay has been odd given that there has been resolution on the court side of things, and all the facts would seem to be available to Goodell. The 49ers are now just four days away from having to finalize their 53-man roster. If Aldon Smith is suspended, the team gets a roster exemption for him for the length of his suspension.

It would seem unfair for the league to wait until after final roster cuts to make this suspension decision. If they wait, the 49ers will not initially be able to use their roster exemption because Smith will not technically be suspended yet. The team will cut down to 53, but then have to sign another player once Smith is officially suspended. Given how deep this 49ers roster is, the odds are pretty good the guy they would sign in Aldon Smith's roster spot would be picked up by another team. I don't think that would necessarily be an outside linebacker, because I think Corey Lemonier, Aaron Lynch, and Dan Skuta will all remain on the roster regardless of what happens to Smith.

Why then is the league seemingly taking so long to figure this out? I don't have any inside information, but my guess is there is some kind of negotiation going on with regard to the number of games, and we'll hear a decision by Friday afternoon.

I suggest this in light of Matt Prater's recent suspension. According to reports, the league wanted to suspend Prater for a year, and Prater's attorney negotiated it down to 4 games, along with no appeal after the announcement. It is important to note the Prater information comes from Prater's side of things, so we don't know for certain what the league initially had in mind.

However, if there is any truth to it, then I could see Aldon Smith's representative working with the league on a suspension that upon announcement would not be appealed. That would remove the delay such an appeal would cause, and thus make a Friday announcement fine for purposes of roster cuts.

Kevin Lynch mentioned Friday as well, and it makes sense. The league likes to dump info late in the week, and the Friday before Labor Day weekend is a perfect opportunity for this. I would not be at all surprised if there was a 1 or 2 p.m. PT announcement Friday afternoon.

And if there isn't an announcement? I don't really know what to make of the situation at that point, but given how long this has taken thus far, I suppose nothing should surprise me.