Seattle had been on the lookout for linebacker depth before its deal with Wilhoite, having met with him, ex-49ers teammate Gerald Hodges and former Redskin and Steeler Terence Garvin in recent days. The Seahawks were already familiar with Wilhoite prior to free agency, as he spent the first five years of his career with NFC West rival San Francisco. Thus far, the 30-year-old Wilhoite has amassed 65 appearances and 36 starts.
After starting in all 28 of his appearances from 2014-15, Wilhoite took on a lesser role last year. While he did log the third 16-game season of his career and play 58.3 of the 49ers’ special teams snaps, he only started in six contents and saw action in 44.3 percent of defensive snaps. As a defender, Wilhoite picked up 46 tackles, a forced fumble and a half-sack, and ranked as one of Pro Football Focus’ five worst qualified linebackers in overall performance (though he did earn a respectable grade against the pass).
When the Seahawks’ agreement with Wilhoite becomes official, they’ll have added two linebackers this offseason (the special teams-only Arthur Brown was the first). The team has also lost one, as Brock Coyle signed with the 49ers, while longtime Seahawks reserve Mike Morgan remains without a deal. Regardless, with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright in place, Seattle possesses an elite linebacker corps.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.