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Aldon Smith's 2015 option has 49ers in a quandary

In the wake of Aldon Smith's latest arrest, the San Francisco 49ers have a tough decision to make regarding their troubled pass rusher.

Battista: Niners at a crossroads


In the midst of an offseason marred by off-field transgressions, the 49ers face one big decision. Judy Battista explains. **READ**

The organization must decide by May 3 whether to pick up the fifth-year option on Smith's rookie contract.

Appearing on Monday's edition of "NFL Total Access," NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said he has been told the 49ers remain undecided on Smith's option.

If they do exercise the option, more than $9 million is guaranteed against injury in 2015, per Rapoport. If they opt against it, on the other hand, Smith will enter a crucial contract year.

Rapoport, citing people informed of the situation, reported late Monday that the 49ers will wait until the last minute to make a call, but it's appearing unlikely they will pick up Smith's option. The 49ers want to gather as much information as possible on Smith, and it's unlikely they will have enough facts to commit long-term by the deadline. It is more likely that the Niners let Smith play out the 2014 season and take it from there.

The 49ers will not cut Smith, however, per Rapoport. San Francisco has committed resources to helping Smith walk the right path, including his stint last year in rehab. In addition, his salary is guaranteed for 2014. Releasing him would accelerate his signing bonus.

April 29 is looming as another important date, as Smith is due in court on DUI and felony weapons charges.

In light of his latest arrest, the judge might be less inclined to offer leniency or extended time to defense attorneys.

If the 49ers have reason to believe Smith will be facing an NFL suspension in the wake of multiple offenses against the league's personal conduct policy, the option decision becomes even trickier for a player who is turning into a public relations nightmare.

For more discussion of the All-Pro pass rusher's future in San Francisco, check out Monday's edition of the "Around The League Podcast".

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