No. 8: Linebacker Tully Banta-Cain
Signed in 2007 to a three-year, $12 million contract
Not unlike the 49ers rebuild of 2017, the team was going through another reconstruction back in 2007 under then-head coach Mike Nolan.
Bringing in former New England Patriots linebacker, and Bay Area native, Tully Banta-Cain was supposed to improve the defense and instill a Super Bowl-winning mentality to a team that had become the laughingstock of the NFL earlier that decade.
And initially, it looked as if that was the case.
Banta-Cain’s first year in San Francisco replicated the numbers he had the previous year with New England, and he also managed to recover a fumble and score a game-winning touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in November that year.
The following season, however, Nolan became disenfranchised with Banta-Cain, and the linebacker was listed as inactive for the 49ers’ first four games of 2008. Banta-Cain was then subsequently used mostly on special teams that year, finally being released early in 2009.
Banta-Cain then went on to sign back with the Patriots shortly afterwards, where he managed a career-high 10.0 sacks.
The only reason Banta-Cain isn’t higher on this list is due to his relatively solid first year in San Francisco.