NFL Free Agency: 5 Positions the San Francisco 49ers Must Address in 2016
By Peter Panacy
It’s perfectly reasonable to consider an outside linebacker as another position of need for the 49ers this offseason. But the book remains out on second-year pro Eli Harold so, perhaps, this need gets bumped down.
More important will be an established inside linebacker to occupy the space alongside perennial Pro Bowler NaVorro Bowman.
This was the slate held by linebacker Michael Wilhoite last season. And he was an utter disappointment finishing with a minus-16.5 grade, per Pro Football Focus — lowest among all San Francisco defenders.
Wilhoite, and fellow linebacker Gerald Hodges, are better served as backups. Not starters.
Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, who played alongside Bowman during the 2016 Pro Bowl, would be a great fit. But an expensive one. Johnson earned $5.25 million last year, and it’s hard to envision the Chiefs parting ways with him.
Still, the 49ers will want to get strong up the middle once again. So look for San Francisco to evaluate an upgrade here.
Next: Offensive Line