The San Francisco 49ers have signed defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye to a reserve/future contract on Friday, according to Eric Branch. The deal means he will go through the offseason workout program and then get a chance to compete for a roster spot in training camp. His best chance likely is for another year on the practice squad, but another offseason will be something to watch.
Aside from his general popularity here, this is interesting in terms of what it might mean for defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. The 49ers signed a handful of guys to reserve/future contracts at the end of the season, but Okoye was not among that initial group. There was some chatter he was waiting to see what happened with Tomsula because he chose the 49ers in part because Tomsula had experience training non-football players in Europe, and is regarded as a great defensive line coach.
The fact that Okoye has re-signed does not mean Tomsula will be back, but it certainly makes the whole situation a little more interesting. Tomsula has been considered the favorite, but Jason LaCanfora reported Vic Fangio's interview went really well. There is talk Fangio would name Ed Donatell his defensive coordinator if he got the head coach job. Could we then see Tomsula remain defensive line coach, but get an assistant head coach title as well? Brad Seely had that role under Jim Harbaugh while also handling special teams. We don't know what Seely's future holds, but maybe this is one way the 49ers keep Fangio, Donatell and Tomsula together.