The NFL will suspend Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith one year for his role in an August incident, a league source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Smith violated the league’s substance-abuse policy following his DUI arrest this summer and the consequences were expected to be serious. The suspension will last one calendar year, meaning that he’ll be eligible to return to football in November 2016.
So far this year, Smith has been a solid contributor and the Raiders made no secret of their desire to sign the linebacker to a contract extension. While his off-the-field issues have not reared themselves in recent weeks, Smith’s offseason troubles have brought his season to an early end. In nine games for the Raiders, Smith racked up 28 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and three pass deflections.
When healthy and on the field, Smith can be one of the league’s most effective pass rushers, as he exhibited during his first two years in the NFL. As a part-time player in his rookie season, the linebacker recorded 14 sacks, and he piled up another 19.5 as a starter in 2012, en route to a spot on the All-Pro first team.
However, Smith’s off-field issues have limited his production in 2013 and 2014 — he missed nearly half the Niners’ games over the last two seasons after entering a rehabilitation facility in 2013 and serving a nine-game suspension in 2014. Most recently, Smith was arrested by Santa Clara police on hit and run, DUI, and vandalism charges, though when he was released from jail, the outside linebacker disputed the fact that he had been driving under the influence.
The Jaguars, Buccaneers, and Rams also made contract offers to Smith, and reportedly offered more money, but Smith chose to sign with Oakland partially because of its proximity to his Bay Area home. Smith’s missing the final seven games of the season costs him $514K in base salary and $1.75MM in missed roster bonuses. He also could have earned additional money by reaching contract incentives.