The inside/middle linebacker free agent market is getting another name, as the Philadelphia Eagles announced the release of DeMeco Ryans. The 32-year old was due a base salary of $2.5 million in 2016, with a total cap hit of $4.5 million. By releasing Ryans, the Eagles save $3.5 million between his base salary and a $1 million roster bonus. They will carry $1 million in dead money from his pro-rated signing bonus.
Ryans is coming off arguably the worst 16-game performance of his career. He finished with 32 solo tackles, and had 11 missed tackles. That placed him 40th out of 45 inside linebackers for tackling efficiency. He has lost several steps due to multiple Achilles injuries. He tore his left Achilles in 2010, and then tore his right Achilles in 2014. He could very well provide some leadership as a veteran reserve, but his days as a starter are likely numbered.
The 49ers have a need for inside linebacker depth. I would not want to see Ryans signed as a starter. I'd rather roll the dice on the younger Hodges or Wilhoite, or draft a Myles Jack or Jaylon Smith. I suppose Ryans could provide some veteran leadership as a reserve, but I don't see that happening. Maybe the 49ers kick the tires, but more than likely they go into the 2016 season with some other options.