San Francisco 49ers: If Jerome Simpson suspension expected, why sign him?


It’s another day, which means something else went wrong with the San Francisco 49ers. This time, it was the NFL’s decision to suspend wide receiver Jerome Simpson for the first six games of the regular season for violation of the substance abuse policy. Unlike the other problems, this wasn’t surprising considering the receiver’s history. But why would the team even bother with adding a distraction when they certainly don’t need it?

ALSO ON SPIN ZONE: What were the biggest scandals in NFL history?

Simpson was a very unpopular addition to the wide receiver corps among the team’s fanbase. It contradicted the owner’s words of “winning with class,” which were still fresh in everybody’s mind, because of his long trouble with drugs. Remember, Simpson received three misdemeanor charges back in July 2014 for driving with a limited driver’s license with marijuana and an open bottle of alcohol — that was heading into a season with a three-game suspension for a previous substance abuse policy violation.

That’s where the latest news stems from. The NFL, who loves having their own justice system, decided to punish Simpson before the July 2014 incident has any closure. Apparently, the 49ers were expecting this suspension and Trent Baalke spun it in the overpositive angle he generally portrays in these situations (via

"“The probability of a suspension was known when we signed Jerome. Since joining the 49ers, Jerome has proven to be a great teammate. Although he will not be able to participate in the first six weeks of the season, Jerome has done everything asked of him, both on and off the field. We are in full support of the NFL’s decision, and look forward to Jerome’s future contributions to our organization.”"

This probably would have held a little more weight if Baalke’s emphatic statement on resigning Aldon Smith didn’t come days before the linebacker finally used up all of his chances and didn’t take responsibility for his actions. What we do know is that Simpson was already a risk and this suspension probably ends his chances unless the depth chart shrivels up with injuries six weeks into the season.

More from San Francisco 49ers

Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith are locks at wide receiver and will start for the team. Quinton Patton seems like a strong third option and other reserves that look best to make the cut are Bruce Ellington and DeAndrew White. Simpson will still be part of the organization heading into the season because they don’t have to add him to the 53-man roster. It could very well be another situation like with the Minnesota Vikings last year where the team will cut the cord instead of making room for him.

The problem with this whole thing is if the 49ers organization anticipated a ban, why did they even bother adding Simpson in the first place? It completely contradicts Jed York’s mission statement, and it wasn’t needed when they already picked up Torrey Smith and the draft was still coming up. None of it really adds up, which has been the theme to this entire offseason.

Baalke tried to make sense of the ordeal back in March, calling the NFL “a risk-reward business” and didn’t want to negate anybody that did something wrong in their past. Giving second chances is fine, but when a team undergoes a dramatic overhaul without improvement and there were two standout players in Ray McDonald and Aldon Smith that repeated mistakes when given another chance, it’s probably better to pass on someone that’s been a repeat offender.

Next: San Francisco 49ers: Table set for Quinton Patton?

More from NFL Spin Zone