49ers sign veteran insurance to help mitigate Dre Greenlaw injury

Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Eric Kendricks
Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Eric Kendricks / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The 49ers are bringing aboard linebacker Eric Kendricks, who'll be expected to fill the void left by Dre Greenlaw if the latter misses part of 2024.

Arguably just as devastating as the San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl loss last February was watching linebacker Dre Greenlaw go down with a ruptured Achilles during that game.


Greenlaw and All-Pro Fred Warner helped comprise what many experts tabbed as the No. 1 linebacker group in the entire NFL the last two seasons, so Greenlaw's potential absence from the beginning of 2024 while he recovers from his Achilles tear creates problems the Niners have to solve.

From their perspective, they hopefully did so on Wednesday.

49ers ink veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks to 1-year deal, per report

San Francisco is poised to lose two linebackers to free agency this offseason, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles and Oren Burks. While two others on the depth chart could provide assistance, Dee Winters and Jalen Graham, neither played a significant role during their rookie 2023 seasons.

Considering the 49ers' current Super Bowl aspirations, finding a veteran would be ideal.

On the day the new NFL year begins, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Niners were signing veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks to a one-year deal to help alleviate Greenlaw's absence and beef up the depth chart:

Related story: 49ers free agency tracker 2024: Signings, departures and live updates

Kendricks, 32 years old, spent last season with the Los Angeles Chargers and even worked under then-head coach Brandon Staley, who is now serving with San Francisco as an assistant head coach to Kyle Shanahan.

Before, Kendricks enjoyed an eight-year career with the Minnesota Vikings where he was named a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro back in 2019. The Round 2 pick from the 2016 NFL Draft has amassed 1,036 tackles, five forced fumbles, 57 passes broken up, nine interceptions and 18.5 sacks over his nine-year career.

Even if Greenlaw returns in full to start the upcoming season, Kendricks helps provide valuable experience and depth, ensuring the 49ers' linebacker corps doesn't suffer a significant decline because of any further setback or injury.

Read more from Niner Noise