As it turns out, Aldon Smith’s NFL career isn’t over just yet. Smith, who was released by the 49ers after a series of run-ins with the law, has signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders and could play this Sunday against the Bengals.
The deal contains a $1 million base salary but could be worth as much as $8 million, depending on performance and incentives.
One must wonder: What was the market like for the troubled yet talented 25-year-old? Was it toxic, or was there a great deal of interest outside of Oakland?
“There were six teams interested,” NFL Network national insider Ian Rapoport said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “The Raiders were the only team to meet with him face-to-face, but the Bucs, the Jaguars, the Rams – imagine that, they were all interested. It wasn’t toxic. Teams didn’t know what his legal situation was going to be. Of course, he gets charged (Friday) a couple minutes after he signs. But nobody wants to sign a guy and then have him suspended for the year.”
On August 6, Smith was arrested in Santa Clara, California, for an alleged hit and run while driving under the influence. It was his third DUI arrest. The 49ers released him the next day.
“He faces a serious suspension if these allegations are true,” Rapoport said, “but right now, he can play. He’s still eligible as of right now.”
When his mind and body are right, Smith is an all-world pass rusher. He has 44.0 career sacks in 50 games. Whether or not he’s worth the trouble at this point, however, is a matter of opinion.
“The Raiders are going to get a player at least who’s going to play for a little bit it seems, but to sign him, you have to be willing to deal with all the stuff that comes along with it – like the bad PR,” Rapoport said. “I don’t think the Raiders really care. They’re going to deal with it, but they’re also going to get a (talented) player. Think about what that pass rushing group is like. It’s just ridiculous.”
The Raiders’ front seven includes Justin Tuck and Khalil Mack, last year’s No. 5 overall pick.
The Raiders host the Bengals this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.