Deadline looms for Aldon Smith, 49ers

There are several dates in the coming weeks that will determine Aldon Smith's personal and professional life.

On Tuesday, the troubled San Francisco 49ers' pass rusher had a pretrial court appearance on felony gun charges stemming from a 2012 party at his home and a drunken driving charge stemming from a 2013 arrest. His next court date in those cases is next month. There is no timeline on how long these cases will remain pending. Smith is subject to NFL discipline, likely when these cases are resolved if he is convicted.

The Los Angeles County Attorney's office continues to investigate Smith's April 13 arrest and booking at Los Angeles International Airport on a charge of false report of a bomb threat. He could face misdemeanor charges.

While Smith has these pending cases, the 49ers have until Saturday to make a football decision on Smith. That is the deadline for NFL teams to decide whether to give a fifth-year option for the 2015 season for players who were drafted in the first round in 2011. The option on Smith is $9.75 million.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter recently reported the team isn't expected to do that. If they don't, but decide later that they'd want Smith back in 2015, the 49ers would have to give him a long-term deal or apply the franchise tag on him, which would likely be in the $12 million-$13 million range. If not, he will be a free agent in 2014.

Friday, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said the team is still mulling the decision, but made it clear the 49ers don't want to "toss" Smith out.

Asked if he hopes Smith will play this season and in 2015, Baalke replied: "And in 2016 and 2017 and 2018 ... You don't just open the door and toss people out." Baalke said several times that the team is "disappointed" in Smith's continued missteps and that "they have to stop."