49ers ink 2 free agents from NFC North to bolster their defense

The Niners continue to emphasize their defense in NFL free agency, and two more transactions are now close to being made final.

Green Bay Packers linebacker De'Vondre Campbell
Green Bay Packers linebacker De'Vondre Campbell / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The 49ers have reportedly signed former Packers linebacker De'Vondre Campbell and former Lions cornerback Chase Lucas.

If there's been a theme from the San Francisco 49ers' efforts in free agency thus far, it's that general manager John Lynch wants to beef up the team's defense.

So far, the only starters who have departed is defensive tackle Arik Armstead, who was released in a cap-saving move and subsequently signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and edge Clelin Ferrell, who left for the Washington Commanders.

But the Niners also have to address the strong likelihood that linebacker Dre Greenlaw won't be 100 percent after tearing his Achilles in the Super Bowl last February. San Francisco needs a contingency plan there. Cornerback depth, too, is also a need heading deeper into the 2024 offseason.

Lynch and Co. hope to have addressed both needs on Friday with a pair of one-year deals, both involving former NFC North players.

49ers reportedly sign former Packers LB De'Vondre Campbell to 1-year deal

Citing a source, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the 49ers were signing former Green Bay Packers linebacker De'Vondre Campbell to a one-year deal:

Campbell, who'll turn 31 years old this summer, was both a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro back in 2021 and is coming off a 2023 campaign in which he played 11 games, had 75 tackles, a fumble recovery and one pass broken up.

Green Bay released Campbell at the start of the league new year, and he immediately drew interest from the Niners, according to NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco.

While not the best coverage linebacker, Campbell's addition helps guard against a long-term Greenlaw absence while beefing up the depth chart behind All-Pro Fred Warner.

49ers also add CB Chase Lucas, formerly of the Lions, per report

Grabbing another NFC North defender, KPRC2's Aaron Wilson reported that San Francisco was also signing former Detroit Lions cornerback Chase Lucas to a one-year deal:

Lucas, 27 years old, primarily played on Detroit's special teams in 2023 while seeing action in 12 games last season, none of which came on the defensive side of the ball.

The former seventh-round draft pickup should be expected to serve on special teams as a role player while also adding some back-end depth to the cornerback room heading into offseason programs.

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