The 49ers are expected to sign free agent linebacker Malcolm Smith on Thursday, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). Peter Schrager of FOX Sports (Twitter link) first reported San Francisco’s interest.
A report earlier today indicated the Raiders are unlikely to retain Smith, but San Francisco is the first team that’s been officially linked to the former Super Bowl MVP. Smith, 27, has spent the past two years in Oakland serving as a full-time starter for the first time in his career. During that time, he’s started 30 games and averaged more than 100 tackles per season. Pro Football Focus hasn’t been fond of Smith’s production, however, giving him negative marks for the majority of his career.
The 49ers have been active today, but they’ve mostly added offensive players that won’t have an affect on a defense that ranked 28th in DVOA last season. San Francisco is moving to a Seahawks-esque 4-3 defense under new coordinator Robert Saleh, so Smith would offer both scheme familiarity and versatility, and could conceivably slot in at either outside linebacker spot.
Smith, who ranks as PFR’s No. 12 free agent linebacker, is coming off a two-year pact that paid him $3.5MM annually.