by Fitzgerald Cecilio
San Francisco, CA
The San Francisco 49ers have signed defensive tackle Justin Smith to a two-year extension, keeping him with the team through 2015.
"They wanted me to be here. And I wanted to be here. So that makes it easy," said Smith, who reportedly signed a two-year extension that could be worth $8.7 million.
According to NFL.com, Smith created $4.3 million in salary-cap room for the 49ers in 2013 by converting almost $6.6 million of his $7.5 million base into a signing bonus. Also guaranteed is $2 million of his 2014 base of $3.15 million.
Smith, who will turn 34 in September, missed the final two regular-season games in 2012. He came back four weeks later but was ineffective as his left triceps tendon was still 50 percent torn.
After signing the extension, Smith said he will not have second thoughts of retiring early if his skills erode before his contract expires, adding that he will not end his career as a situational player.
"I said that. I meant that," Smith said. "I won't be a guy that's around for 10 snaps, 20 snaps. It's either I'm going (to play full-time), or I'm not going. And when it's time to get out of here, I'm going. I get a ticket like everybody else, so that's what I'm doing."
In case Smith's move to retire if his role diminishes pushes through, the 49ers also have a backup plan to fill his spot with the team.
In April, the 49ers used second-round pick on Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine, a first-round talent who dropped after sustaining an ACL tear last year.