Aldon Smith, one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, has been suspended nine games without pay by the NFL. Here’s the NFL’s official statement:
Smith will sorely be missed by a defense that will also be without linebacker Navarro Bowman (torn ACL/MCL in NFC Title game). The 49ers lost two starters from the secondary in free agency. Despite immense talent up and down the roster, it’s difficult to imagine the 49ers getting back to the NFC Title game for the third year in a row.
Of note: The 49ers did go 5-0 without Aldon Smith last year … though they beat five teams that didn’t reach the postseason (including Houston and Jacksonville).
Colin Kaepernick just received a lucrative new contract, the coach and GM are feuding, and their top running back, tight end, and wide receiver from last year are all on the wrong side of 30. At least Michael Crabtree is back.