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How do you grade 49ers free agent addition Malcolm Smith?

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Time to grade every 49ers roster addition from the 2017 offseason. Today, we look at linebacker Malcolm Smith.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers-Training Camp Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the 2017 season and have begun their work to prepare for 2018 free agency and the draft. We’ll be breaking down plenty of what that means, but in the meantime, we wanted to take a look back at the season that was for the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo capture our imagination, but the 49ers rebuilding process was extensive last year. We are going to take a look at every notable addition and provide a forum for grading how that signing, trade, or draft pick worked out.

Malcolm Smith, Linebacker
How acquired: Signed 5-year, $26.5 million contract

The San Francisco 49ers were plenty busy early in free agency last year, and they had a few eye-popping contracts. Most notably for many, the deals agreed to with fullback Kyle Juszczyk and linebacker Malcolm Smith had tongues wagging. Juszczyk signed a deal that made him the highest paid fullback in the NFL by a decent margin. Smith signed a deal that netted him over $5 million per year.

Smith’s deal was pricey, but it is worth noting (see the breakdown linked above) that the deal is effectively a three-year contract with two option years. His 2017 salary was fully guaranteed, as was most of his 2018 salary. The 49ers will take some dead money hits with a release at any point, but given their cap space, that’s not really a huge deal.

Smith was set to line up next to NaVorro Bowman in the team’s new 4-3 defense. He tore a pectoral muscle in training camp, and was placed on injured reserve to end his season before it really began. Reuben Foster replaced him in the lineup.

Once the 49ers traded Bowman, Eric Reid got some work at linebacker, and then Brock Coyle moved into the starting lineup. Coyle originally came in primarily as a special teams player, but injuries changed that. He is a free agent this offseason, and even if he was returning, Smith would likely be starting alongside Foster in 2018.

In the grading poll below, I included an “Incomplete” option. I imagine some will have an opinion of the signing even without having seen him play in a game for the 49ers, but others will prefer to defer on this one.

If you can’t see the poll below, click here.


How do you grade the Malcolm Smith signing?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    (51 votes)
  • 9%
    (139 votes)
  • 14%
    (205 votes)
  • 9%
    (139 votes)
  • 10%
    (150 votes)
  • 50%
    (709 votes)
1393 votes total Vote Now