In face of legal troubles, 49ers must decide on Aldon Smith

By Mike Singer |

Aldon Smith's legal troubles could impact his future with San Francisco. (USATSI)

The timing couldn't be worse for 49ers GM Trent Baalke as he needs to decide whether to exercise Aldon Smith's fifth-year option despite Smith's looming legal troubles hanging over the deal.

San Francisco has until Saturday to decide if Smith, a 2011 first-rounder, warrants a fifth-year player option for 2015, which would be $9.75 million, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Baalke recently said that the team wouldn't “toss" him out but the elite linebacker is up against major legal hurdles.

Smith is facing three counts of felony gun charges stemming from a 2012 party along with a DUI charge from this past September. No plea deal was reached at Tuesday's pre-trial hearing, and the next court date is scheduled for May 12.

Baalke also has to weigh Smith's recent incident at Los Angeles International Airport, where he allegedly told security personnel that he had a bomb. Surprisingly, he may only be charged with a misdemeanor.

After all the legal penalties, Smith may still face a suspension from the NFL, further complicating his future with the team. Any resolution or penalty from the league likely won't happen until his court matters are settled, though.

In light of his legal troubles, the team is reportedly against giving him the player option – a signal that he needs to amend his behavior, but Smith's clearly too talented to risk losing in free agency after this year.

"I don't know if we're ever going to have enough information," Baalke said, alluding to his dilemma. "You never have enough, do you?"

Smith, set to make $2.3 million this year, has been at the team's facilities working out this offseason.

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