San Francisco 49ers

49ers, Aldon Smith restructure linebacker’s 2015 contract

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith (99) is scheduled to make a lot of money in the upcoming season, but the deal that pays him has some new twists.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith (99) is scheduled to make a lot of money in the upcoming season, but the deal that pays him has some new twists. AP

Aldon Smith still is in line to make $9.75 million in 2015. But the contract is no longer fully guaranteed after he agreed to restructure the deal.

Instead, Smith will be paid in monthly roster bonuses beginning in April and in weekly bonuses once the season begins. That provides the team with protection should Smith run into any more off-the-field issues and indicates he is confident he’ll remain in good standing. Under the former structure, the entire deal was guaranteed with the start of the league year on Tuesday.

Smith's agent, Doug Hendrickson, said Thursday the goal for both the 49ers and Smith, 25, is to sign a long-term extension. He said that restructuring the deal should signal that Smith is committed to staying out of trouble and is willing to bet on himself.

"Aldon appreciates and is loyal to what they've done for him and how they've stood behind him," Hendrickson said of the 49ers. "He realizes he's been his own worst enemy. Really, I appreciate Aldon's approach to it."

Hendrickson said he and the team have been discussing a restructured deal for about a month. The deal will not affect the 49ers' salary cap.

Smith was the seventh overall pick in 2011 and immediately established himself as one of the top passers in the league when he finished with 14 sacks as a rookie.

Still, the 49ers last year were hesitant to pick up the so-called "fifth-year option" on his contract for this season after he became entangled in several police-blotter incidents over the past three years. That includes two DUI arrests and a weapons conviction that stemmed from an out-of-control party he threw at his home in 2012.

Smith missed five games of the 2013 season when he checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center following a September 2013 DUI arrest. The NFL suspended him another nine games to start the 2014 season due to the same arrest as well as the weapons violation.

Smith returned in Week 11 last season and started the rest of the team's games from that point forth. He, Ahmad Brooks, Aaron Lynch, Corey Lemonier and Chase Thomas compose the team's group of outside linebackers, although there is speculation that Brooks could be cut as part of a cost-saving move.

General manager Trent Baalke has consistently supported Smith and gave him a robust vote of confidence last month at the scouting combine.

“A lot of people haven't had the pleasure of meeting Aldon,” Baalke said. “(He’s) a great young man. He's had some off-the-field adversity, some personal adversity that he's trying to deal with and is dealing with. But if you've ever had an opportunity to meet him, I think you'd feel how most of us feel, a tremendous young man."

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