NFC West Update
After contemplating retirement for months Justin Smith of the 49ers announced his retirement from the National Football League. What was speculated from the beginning of the off-season is now official as Smith joins last year teammates Patrick Willis and Chris Borland in retirement. Smith a five-time pro bowler, spent the first half of his 14 year career with the Bengals as a 4-3 defensive end and the second half of his career as a run stopping 3-4 defensive end. Although never eclipsing double digits sacks in a season in his career, Smith was a very disruptive force on the defensive line who was excellent against the run and freed up edge rushers on the outside. Interestingly enough Smith totaled 43.5 with the Bengals and 43.5 with the 49ers. His career totals include: 880 tackles, 87 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, and 30 passes defended. Smith, a tough, durable player with a tremendous motor hangs it up leaving the Niners with no other option but to play their first round pick Arik Armstead earlier than they may have anticipated. The tough off-season continues for the Niners as their defense took some major blows via retirement and will now face a tough challenge to replace that collective productivity and experience.