Aldon Smith has a new NFL team, signing a one-year contract to join the Raiders today, and while he’s eligible to play on Sunday for now, the latest developments in his legal situation signal that NFL discipline will be coming sooner or later.
According to Matt Keller of ABC7 News (Twitter links), the Santa Clara County DA has filed three misdemeanor charges against Smith, stemming from an August incident — DUI with prior conviction, hit and run with property damage, and vandalism. Keller adds that an arraignment date of October 6 has been set for Smith.
The NFL is conducting its own investigation into Smith’s latest off-field incident, and a suspension figures to be coming sooner or later for the ex-Niner, who has already faced multiple penalties for his legal run-ins. If the league takes its time with the investigation, Smith may be able to play in the interim — if the investigation wraps up quickly, he may be forced off the field in the near future. There’s also a possibility that the 25-year-old could land on the commissioner’s exempt list while the NFL finishes its investigation, though there’s no indication yet that that will happen.
According to Jason Cole of Nerdy Football (via Twitter), Smith’s one-year pact with the Raiders can be worth up to $8MM for the year, with roster incentives. It sounds like the deal might be similar to the one Greg Hardy signed with the Cowboys, before Dallas knew how long he’d be suspended. When a player’s salary relies heavily on per-game roster bonuses, a team can protect itself against a suspension or injury.
For his part, Smith thought it was wise to stay near his therapists, counselors, and the support network he has built in the Bay Area, according to Cole (via Twitter).