Brock Coyle was brought to the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 as an obvious special teams option. After all, that’s basically all he did with the Seattle Seahawks beyond a bit of linebacker play. The positive was he was familiar with the defense 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh brought, having come from Seattle as well.
Well, special teams wasn’t all Coyle was used for. The NaVorro Bowman release, Malcolm Smith injury and Reuben Foster injuries were enough to have him starting 10 of the final 11 games in 2017.
Coyle has signed a three-year extension with the team and has shown he can provide solid depth. He’s not a full time starter, or someone you want starting for very many games, but he knows the defense and he’s not going to be a disaster on the field.
Coyle suffered a torn labrum to end his 2017 season and has been out of OTAs. He is expected to be cleared to return for the start of training camp.
Experience: Four accrued seasons
Weight: 245 lbs
Coyle signed a three-year contract extension in March. The deal included a $2.1 million signing bonus, per-game roster bonuses totaling $400,000 each year, and $50,000 in workout bonuses each year. His 2018 base salary ($900,000) is guaranteed at signing. His total cap hit for 2018 is $2.05 million. More on his full extension is broken down here.
Why he might improve in 2018
Coyle has provided solid depth and familiarity with Robert Saleh’s defense and that isn’t going to change. When he was on the field last year he wasn’t doing anything that truly infuriated fans or coaches, so perhaps he’s ready to take that next step and be a late bloomer; someone to start alongside Reuben Foster and lead this defense. If not, he’s a depth piece that can be plugged in when his number is called and provides excellent special teams value. He has a limited ceiling, but if Fred Warner doesn’t work out, he can definitely take the starting role if Smith isn’t ready to go.
Why he might regress in 2018
He’s coming off a torn labrum, but is expected to be back in time for training camp. That is always a concern, but otherwise he’s in good shape. He’s 26 years old, so a full recovery seems reasonable. Aside from the injury, he’s shown the 49ers brass he’s worth keeping around because he can step in when needed, and you don’t need to be a starter to be a banshee on special teams. Coyle provides special team potential and linebacker depth in the inevitable Reuben Foster injury. He has a low ceiling and a predictable floor, but we know what the 49ers are getting with him, and that’s a solid backup at worst.
Odds of making the roster
Considering that he signed a three-year extension in the offseason, Coyle isn’t going anywhere. The 49ers linebacking corps will be Foster, Warner, Smith, and Coyle, and potentially Korey Toomer. Coyle can come in when needed for whichever starter is out and hold down the fort. Like any backup, we don’t want him in there more than a game or two, but for those two games, he’s not going to burn the place down.