How 49ers’ OLB Aldon Smith Release, Opens Door For OLB Aaron Lynch

The San Francisco 49ers announced today that they have released promising yet troubled OLB Aldon Smith. The news comes just hours after being arrested for an alleged DUI, hit-and-run, and vandalism charges. The 49ers released a statement, saying “This organization has tried very hard to help Aldon fight his issues. Although he is no longer a member of this team, our support and concern for him will continue.”

Shortly thereafter it was the 49ers local beat writers who met with head coach Jim Tomsula as he announced the heart-breaking news.

  #49ers Jim Tomsula addresses that OLB Aldon Smith was just released!   A video posted by Ryan Sakamoto ? (@sakamotoryan_) on

Smith, who has had numerous run-ins with the law will now have to face the music, as he is currently no longer in the NFL.

So what does that mean for the 49ers defense? While they certainly will miss the gifted pass-rusher, all is not lost as they have 10-year veteran OLB Ahmad Brooks, second-year phenom OLB Aaron Lynch and rookie third-round pick (No. 79) OLB Eli Harold in their back pocket.  

R1126_skinsBrooks who continues to be the best of the bunch, as he appears to be in football shape unlike last year’s training camp, will now likely garner the role as best pass-rusher on the team from the outside linebacker position. A player that was once thought to be on his way out, I can assure you that won’t happen now that Smith is no longer with the team.

In six seasons with the 49ers, Brooks has remained quite the presence on the defensive side of the ball, as he’s recorded 238 tackles, 39.0 sacks, three interceptions and 23 pass break-ups. A seasoned veteran who has exceptional awareness when it comes to playing the pass or the run, look for Brooks to be a dominant force in 2015.

While one outside linebacker position is set, what about the other side? Well that will go to second-year phenom, Lynch.

The player known as ‘Lynch Mobb,’ will likely garner the lions share of the first-team reps once he gets back into action. And while he has been dealing with a hamstring and lower back problems throughout most of the off-season, I’m not concerned that he won’t be ready in time for the 49ers first pre-season game as he’s poised for a breakout season.

In 16 games as a rookie last season, Lynch racked up 6.0 sacks and four pass break-ups while also blocking a punt. While Lynch may be the entrenched starter do not count out the Virginia product, Harold.

Harold has been quite the surprise thus far in training camp. In fact, I just recently was asked on twitter which players stood out and I specifically singled out Harold as one of those players. He is very strong at the point of attack while looking the part of a sideline-to-sideline outside linebacker who can chase in pursuit. A high motor guy who loves to hit, look for Harold to make some noise during the preseason.

With the 49ers moving forward, it will be interesting to see which outside linebacker steps up as they are can both make their presence felt early and often.


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Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.