Thoughts on Trent Baalke's comments

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
9:00
PM ET
Here are some thoughts on some key comments San Francisco 49ers' general manager made on Friday.

On Aldon Smith's future: Baalke made it clear -- the 49ers do not want to give up on Smith and they want him to get right off the field.

I think the 49ers want to keep Smith around as long as they can, but it ultimately depends on Smith getting his life together. The 49ers said that last year when Smith left for five weeks to seek treatment for substance abuse. There is going to come a point where the 49ers can't keep this going. If the trouble continues for Smith, the 49ers will walk away at some point.

It doesn't mean they will do it now. If they don't exercise the 2015 option for $9.75 million, the 49ers could always give him a long-term deal or the franchise tag next year. While giving Smith the option by the May 3 deadline may be the prudent football decision, I could see the 49ers risking it just to give themselves more time.

But, for now, Smith's future with the 49ers is still open per Baalke's comments.

Colin Kaepernick's contract: Last month, Baalke said the team would like to give the quarterback a long-term extension by the draft or training camp. Friday, Baalke said there is no timeline.

I wouldn't read too much into that as far as the ongoing investigation in Miami playing a role. I think the reasons why Baalke is not working with a timeline is because he knows the talks have been, and will continue to be, complicated. Baalke doesn't want to create panic if training camp starts and a deal for Kaepernick is not complete.

His impassioned thoughts on his players: Baalke made a point to say, despite several off-field issues the team has deal with this offseason, the team is not "lawless."

It's great that Baalke -- who did acknowledge even one incident is too much -- stuck up for his program. But he has to realize if the arrests continue to pile up, he will have to live by his words and will have to defend them. He's a smart guy and he realizes the ramifications of his words. I think Baalke defended the program as a whole because he believes in his players.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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