Florio points out that even if Smith wanted to return to the NFL, the 49ers still control his rights, considering that he retired from the game last year and still had one year remaining on his three-year, $16.8 million contract.
With this in mind, San Francisco would have to either release him or trade him to a different team for this to be possible.
The problem with a trade scenario is that Smith will be 37 by the time the 2016 season rolls around, and it’s unlikely that any team would be willing to part with a draft pick for him, especially after he sat out an entire year.
In 2014, Smith appeared in all 16 games and recorded 43 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and a recovery for the 49ers. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the No. 11 defensive end in a 3-4 out of 47 qualifying players that year.