A 12-year veteran and Honolulu visitor for the last four Pro Bowls, Smith had one year remaining on his six-year, $45M deal. He was due $7.5M in 2013. The details of the extension have yet to be disclosed.
“Justin’s All-Pro contributions on the field, as well as his leadership on and off the field, are integral to our success as a team,” general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement released by the team. “Justin consistently sets a standard of excellence, serving as an example for everyone within our organization. This contract allows Justin to finish his career as a 49er!”
This has to be somewhat unexpected news for 49ers fans, especially those who were starting to prepare for life without the Cowboy after the 2013 season. The 49ers bolstered their defensive line — especially the pass rush — in this year’s draft, selecting defensive lineman and pass rush specialists, including Tank Carradine in the second round and Corey Lemonier in the third.
Smith suffered a triceps tear against the Patriots in December, and the pass rush completely disappeared following the injury. It ended Smith’s 185-game iron man streak, and though he came back in time for the playoffs, it was clear he didn’t pack the same punch. But during minicamps last week, Smith told the media he’s close to being fully recovered.
“You just want to be back at 100%, at your all-time best, whatever you feel strength-wise. Probably about a month off from that. Close,” Smith said.
What about a contract extension, Justin?
“You really can’t forecast anything past the year you’re in. I’m thinking about 2013 and 2013 only,” Smith said. ”I’m at a point in my career where nothing’s a given. Nothing’s a guarantee. They don’t like old guys anyway, for football. So I’m just going to enjoy this year.”
Many questioned Aldon Smith’s abilities following the disappearance of Justin as well. Offseason news of a surgery to repair Aldon’s torn labrum probably offered a more reasonable explanation for his decline. Now, the 49ers will return to the field with two healthy Smiths — and assuming the 49ers extend Aldon (his contract runs through 2014), it won’t just be for this year, but two more years after that.