Well, this is certainly interesting. The Matts (Barrows, Maiocco) are reporting the San Francisco 49ers and Aldon Smith have agreed to restructure his contract. Smith is due $9.754 million under his fifth year option, but now it will come through a series of roster bonuses. Prior to this, if he was on the roster March 10, when the new league year starts, his entire salary would have become fully guaranteed.
According to the Matt Maiocco, Smith will earn roster bonuses starting in April. He can earn up to $2 million prior to the start of the regular season, and the remaining $7.754 million would be paid out over the course of the 2015 season. His agent, Doug Hendrickson, indicated that this was about showing the 49ers they could trust Smith to keep his nose clean.
Smith has had his share of troubles, leading to a nine-game suspension this past season. He is signed through 2015 on the option, but the question is when exactly the 49ers would be willing to negotiate a long-term deal with him. Given his sizable cap figure, there has been some chatter among fans as to whether or not the team might consider releasing him. There was never any strong hint that it would happen, but you have to wonder what everybody is considering in negotiating a situation like this.
Smith has stayed out of trouble since his suspension, and this would seem to be a bet that he can continue to stay out of trouble. The 49ers effectively pay him so long as he stays out of trouble. If he does get in trouble, the team can simply release him and it costs them nothing moving forward.
The whole situation is a little odd. I'd like to think it is a good thing Aldon Smith is willing to bet that he can stay out of trouble. However, this strikes me as an unprecedented move. Any thoughts on why this is happening?