The 49ers likely will have to decide on Aldon Smith's fifth-year option without a resolution in the DUI and gun-possession charges he is facing. The two sides did not reach a plea-bargain deal -- something the team thought was a possibility, albeit an unlikely one -- at a hearing today. A new hearing date is scheduled for May 12 in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
It's possible the case could be resolved at some point before then. But that probably won't occur before Saturday, the deadline for triggering the fifth-year option on Smith's contract. The team's single-season sack record holder is entering the final year of the contract he signed as a rookie in 2011, one that will pay him $2.336 this season.
The fifth-year option, which has been triggered for a number of players in Smith's talent-laden 2011 draft class, would give him $9.754 million in 2015. The 49ers, however, are looking into other options that would allow them to keep Smith for a lesser amount. The team also wants to send a signal to Smith that he must change his behavior, a message that could be undermined by giving him nearly $10 million next season.
Some of the 49ers' options regarding Smith can be read here.
-- Matt Barrows