I just saw on NFL Insiders/NFL Live that the 49ers, like the Lions with Nick Fairley, plan to decline picking up the option on Aldon Smith's rookie contract. The deadline to pick up the option(s) is May 3rd, so both teams could still do so. But let's just go with what was reported.
Naturally, this made me wonder whether I'd like the Lions (regardless of whether I currently believe they'll still be in a bad salary cap situation) to go after Smith when he becomes a Free Agent next offseason.
Obviously, he's a talented player. And I don't think there is any question he'd fit into the Lions scheme. But do I think Ansah, Jones, Taylor, and the other DEs (potentially including a rookie) will progress enough to remove DE as a need in 2015? Even if that's the case, would Smith still be an upgrade?
Of course, you also have to take into account what appears to be the reason the 49ers aren't picking up his option. After his recent episode of falsely claiming he had a bomb while in the security line at LAX, he clearly needs to mature quite a bit. And if Harbaugh can't reel him in, do I think Caldwell/Austin/Washburn/Kocurek could do so? Does Mayhew (who clearly would've picked Smith in the 2011 draft if he'd have been available) even take the risk?
Lots to wonder. With what we know now, I don't think he'd be worth the risk. He could change that opinion with his play this season, depending on whether the LAX incident brings about a multi-game suspension. But right now, I'm going to put my faith in this coaching staff to develop the players they have and any DE prospect that may come out of the draft.
What say you?