As disappointed as Jack Del Rio is to not get Aldon Smith back this season and as much as the team could use him as an additional pass rusher, there is a slight silver lining to his not be reinstated at all this season.
Had Smith been reinstated this season, it would begin his 2-year contract with the team which goes through the end of the 2017 season. But with the news that the NFL will not be reinstating him, and instead revisiting his situation in March — after the end of the league year — his contract will toll for 2016.
What this means his deal with the Raiders won’t begin until 2017 and go through 2018 as first reported by Raiders Beat, citing NFL cap specialist Joel Corry.
Silver & Black Pride can confirm via sources familiar with Smith’s contract that it will indeed toll due to his NFL ban that kept him out the 2016 season.
I also spoke with Corry, who used the Dion Jordan situation as a recent example.
Raiders fans may remember Jordan as the player the Dolphins selected at number 3 overall once they traded their picks at 12 and 34 to Oakland. The Raiders used pick 12 to select cornerback DJ Hayden and pick 34 on offensive tackle Menelik Watson.
Jordan signed the standard 4-year rookie contract, with a fifth year option. He failed multiple drug tests which had him banned from the NFL for the entire 2015 season causing it to toll to the 2016 season.
So, while the Raiders were declining Hayden’s fifth year option during last offseason, setting up 2016 as his final contract year in Oakland, the Dolphins won’t be making that decision until this offseason, with 2017 as the fourth year of his rookie deal.
Essentially what the Raiders did with signing Smith to a two-year deal last offseason ended up getting him for two full seasons. Though I’m sure they’d prefer to have had him just return on schedule and be available for this season’s playoff run.