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Will Raiders sign Aldon Smith to a long-term deal?

Might Aldon Smith be a building block for the Oakland Raiders instead of just a bridge?

That's the word from general manager Reggie McKenzie, who told local media on Tuesday that Smith could very well be part of the team's long-term plans. He's currently locked up through the season on a barebones contract loaded with incentives.

"We did a lot of research on that," McKenzie said of Smith's troubled past, via CSN Bay Area. "At the end of the day, when we decided we were going to go after him, we wanted to let him join the family and help him in any kind of way we can. That's what we're doing."

The situation here is pretty obvious: Oakland already has a dominant pass rushing star in Khalil Mack and adding Smith -- who is only 26, by the way -- would give Jack Del Rio the best chance to win over the next few years. How much easier is it to build a defense around two premiere pass rushers?

What McKenzie needs to decide is whether or not it's worth the trouble to do so. Hopefully Smith has gotten the help he needs and this can be the start of a redemption story of sorts. But the flip side is introducing a franchise building block like Mack to the possibility of playing with Smith, only to yank it away and alter his responsibilities if something goes wrong. There's an element of trust and unity among edge rushers that is not unlike a quarterback and wide receiver. Relationships mean everything on defense.

So while the parameters of the decision are obvious, the choice doesn't seem to be.

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