No. 10: Linebacker Malcolm Smith
Signed in 2017 to a five-year, $26.5 million contract
Remember that massive roster overhaul the 49ers were going through early in 2017?
Part of that overhaul included the Niners bringing aboard Malcolm Smith on a lucrative five-year deal to help transform a defense that ranked last, or close to last, in virtually every significant category the year before.
San Francisco 49ers
The move made sense at the time. After implementing a 4-3 Under defensive scheme under newly minted coordinator Robert Saleh, who stemmed from the Seattle Seahawks coaching tree, why not bring in a player who once thrived in that same system in Seattle?
That’s what Smith was supposed to be. Remember, he was the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seahawks and Denver Broncos. And while his time afterwards with the Oakland Raiders wasn’t particularly impressive, Smith was at least supposed to bounce back in a significant role under Saleh.
It didn’t happen.
Smith suffered a torn pectoral before the 2017 regular season even began, ending his year and putting him on the shelf for 2018. In his second year, Smith suffered even more injuries and was relegated to just 12 games, starting a mere five of them.
Now, there’s enough speculation to believe Smith winds up being a cap casualty heading into 2019.
If Smith hasn’t been a bust so far after signing in NFL free agency, one might want to redefine the term.