Aldon Smith release leaves Niners in bad shape
Aldon Smith’s arrest Thursday night led to the Niners releasing him Friday, creating yet another significant loss for the 49ers’ defense.
Over Smith’s four-year career he has consistently been a high-level performer, finishing in the top five among 3-4 outside linebackers in our pass-rushing productivity metric in every season but 2014 and rivaling J.J. Watt and Von Miller as the most effective pass-rushers in the NFL.
Smith is the latest departure from a defense that has dealt with several this offseason. He would be the fifth significant contributor along the Niners’ front seven to be gone from last year’s team, joining Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Ray McDonald and Chris Borland.
Smith is the biggest loss so far to the team’s pass rush specifically, and the Niners would be left to replace a total of 51 percent of their pressures from last season.
They will need the likes of rookie Arik Armstead and second-year player Aaron Lynch to replace the production that Justin Smith and Aldon Smith provided – a tall order for players with so little NFL experience.