The Niners played the ‘family values’ card in their desire to hold on to wayward Niner, Aldon Smith. Casting all the extemporaneous bullshit aside, the Niners would have come out on the short end of the stick had they not held on to him for that 5th year. Perceptually, and from purely a business and team standpoint as well. I mean, barring the complete unravelling of Aldon.
Leave him hanging, and you pretty much tell him he was a waste of a pick, and the team disregards his stellar play for the past few seasons. It would write his ticket out of San Francisco and thus on to somewhere else. Most likely Seattle, as they would sign him in a New York minute. It would also look pretty cold to imply that they don’t want him around anymore. To his teammates and the fans as well.
The reality is, for all his foibles, he’s a very rare commodity. A fast, strong, relentless pass rusher who would command a hell of lot more than the $9.75 mill they just put themselves on the hook for for 2015. As much as I’d love to see him turn his life around, and I’m sure he can, the shit he’s done isn’t terribly bad, but he’s definitely heading down a rocky path. He’s young, and he has to realize he’s his own best chance for success, and also the agent of his own doom.
So, the team can look good, they put his needs ahead of theirs, and can deal with his situations as they come up. They are also availed of his talent for the next 2 years, minus the 4 game suspension for weird behavior. Good move all around.