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Ryan Kerrigan contract extension adds context to Aldon Smith contract situation

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Another pass rusher has signed a contract extension. We break down what Ryan Kerrigan's deal might mean for Aldon Smith.

Washington announced on Wednesday that Ryan Kerrigan signed a five-year contract extension, inking a deal worth up to $57.5 million. Preliminary reports mention a $16 million signing bonus, but does not indicate what else is guaranteed.

This deal follows Justin Houston's contract extension two weeks ago with the Kansas City Chiefs. Houston signed a six-year deal worth as much as $101 million. His deal included $52.5 million in various guarantees, including $32.5 million in full guarantees. Kerrigan's extension makes him the third highest paid outside linebacker behind Houston and Clay Matthews. The latter signed a five-year deal back in 2013, worth up to $66 million, with a $20.5 million signing bonus.

This gives us three markers to consider with regard to Aldon Smith's own contract situation. The 49ers outside linebacker is in the option year of his contract, and is set to be a free agent next spring. The team could elect to use the franchise tag, which cost $11,058,000 last year.

Smith is a curious case given his off-field issues. There has been no word of contract negotiations, and I would not expect them. He has stayed out of trouble since his suspension (knock on wood), so they could decide, well, he's been good for a year, so that's enough. Or they could just wait and see what the market bears out next spring. If he stays on the field and can move past the loss of Justin Smith, I would think he could finish among the league leaders in sacks. Whether that's enough to net a contract on the Justin Houston side of things remains to be seen.