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49ers sign Tank Carradine to 1-year extension

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Optimism is rising once again for the 49ers pass rusher. Will OLB work?

Fooch’s update: Matt Maiocco is reporting Tank got a $1.25 million signing bonus.

The San Francisco 49ers have signed outside linebacker Tank Carradine to a one-year extension, according to beat writer Matt Barrows. Carradine was set to hit free agency after this season, but will now be signed through the 2017 season.

Carradine’s 49ers career has been a disappointment thus far, but expectations have grown in his fourth season. He had ACL surgery his final year at Florida State, and was one of the first ACL all stars Trent Baalke drafted. He tried to come back during his rookie season, but had some issues and went on injured reserve before a clean-up procedure on the knee. He returned and the 49ers tried to bulk him up to play defensive tackle. That did not work out, and this past year they decided to have him slim down to play outside linebacker.

Carradine has said he is much more comfortable now, playing back at his college weight in the 270s. He said he had gotten into the low 300s to play defensive tackle, and that slowed him down considerably. He has had a strong preseason, finishing second in Pro Football Focus’s preseason pass rush productivity state.

It remains to be seen how his preseason performance will translate in the regular season, but any problems will not be due to lack of opportunity. Aaron Lynch is suspended for the first four games, and the 49ers only have three OLBs on the roster. Ahmad Brooks and Eli Harold are expected to start in the base 3-4, with Carradine coming on in sub-packages. The 49ers use their sub-packages for more combined time than their base, so Carradine is going to see a lot of time on the field. A strong season could net an even longer extension.