The San Francisco 49ers are making a sizable commitment in their efforts to upgrade at linebacker. The team agreed to terms with Malcolm Smith on Wednesday, and NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo has the details. He is reporting a five-year deal worth up to $26.5 million with $13m guaranteed.
That is certainly a sizable chunk of change, and while we have to wait for details, it seems safe to assume the 49ers are bringing him in to start. Ray-Ray Armstrong signed a contract extension last December, but at only two years, the new coaching staff and front office does not have to feel beholden to some huge money deal.
I spoke with Levi Damien from Silver & Black Pride about Smith, and he described him as steady but underwhelming.
I think the 49ers could be a good place for him as he is reliable and smart. The 49ers new DC Robert Saleh was with the Seahawks during Smith's first three seasons in the league, including the year he won Super Bowl MVP, so there's no doubt a lot of respect for what he brings. He can at times do well in coverage, but overall struggles to cover even decent tight ends.
The weak-side linebacker in this defense is usually one who should be good in coverage, so this is not exactly an ideal look. But I suppose the 49ers could have other ideas for him. As always, we have to wait and see the specifics of the contract, but I am curious to hear what they have to say about his role when the team formally introduces him.