Justin Smith has made a decision about his future, but it’s not clear which way he’ll be going. The 49ers defensive end tells Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee (on Twitter) that the verdict is in and an announcement is expected to come from the team later today. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter link) adds that the news could come down at 1pm PT (3pm CT/4pm ET).
On Thursday, 49ers GM Trent Baalke said that he hoped to get a better grasp on Justin Smith‘s future on Friday. At the time, it sounded like the team didn’t gain any clarity on his decision. “As of right now, there’s not [any additional clarity on his situation],” coach Jim Tomsula said. “[Friday] morning, we were working and meeting and doing our thing. The guys were lifting. Then we came out here. So, no, I haven’t seen or talked to him.”
Smith has indicated that if he does come back, it would probably be for only one more season. Some speculated that the 49ers picking Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead was a sign that Smith was set to call it quits but, since Smith doesn’t intend on being around beyond 2015 anyway, that draft choice meant very little in terms of the veteran’s future. Smith has been the 49ers’ top defensive lineman since he arrived in free agency in 2008, but he has battled injuries in recent years, including a triceps injury in 2012 and a shoulder injury in 2013.
In 2014, his age-35 season, Smith totaled five sacks (giving him 87 for his career) and Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked him the NFL’s 11th-best 3-4 defensive end out of 47 qualifiers.