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49ers file lawsuit against Aldon Smith to reclaim signing bonus money

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The 49ers contend Aldon Smith still owes them signing bonus money. Here is a look at their lawsuit.

Fooch’s update: The lawsuit points to a nine-game suspension on August 27, 2016. Smith was suspended for nine games back in 2014, so it is possible it is related to that. It could also be related to his Raiders suspension. Either way, it is some kind of error in the lawsuit.

The San Francisco 49ers released Aldon Smith back in August of 2015, but they are still working to reclaim signing bonus money. The organization filed suit against Smith on Monday, January 30 to reclaim $341,630.18 they believe is owed them under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. I have embedded the 49ers civil complaint below.

When the 49ers signed Smith, they paid him a signing bonus of $8,961,092. When they released him, they were left facing a dead money for money prorated out. After the 49ers released Smith, he signed with the Oakland Raiders. He was subsequently suspended under the terms of the NFL’s personal conduct policy related to incidents that occurred with the 49ers. The suspension allowed the 49ers to seek repayment of $1,186,027 in prorated bonus money.

According to the complaint, Smith re-paid $844,396.82 under the terms of the CBA, but had failed to pay the remaining $341,630.18. The NFL Management Council, which represents teams in labor disputes, went through the collectively bargained arbitration process. On November 4, the arbitrator agreed with the 49ers and the management council, and issued an order requiring Smith to re-pay the 49ers within 30 days.

The CBA allowed Smith and the NFLPA to appeal the order within ten days, but they did not. That made the order final, and the 49ers have not received payment since. Thus this lawsuit, which asks for the $341,630.18, plus attorneys’ fees.

Smith remains suspended by the NFL, and the decision for his reinstatement has been deferred until March. I don’t believe this lawsuit will have any bearing on whether or not Roger Goodell elects to reinstate him.