49ers must target former Seahawks linebacker after failed Eric Kendricks deal

The 49ers should target a former Seahawk after their deal with another linebacker fell through.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks / Christopher Mast/GettyImages

The San Francisco 49ers thought that they had a new linebacker in Eric Kendricks, but the deal fell through and he is going to join the Dallas Cowboys instead.

The Niners should pivot and sign the former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton.

49ers should target former Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton in free agency

While the Kendricks news is disappointing, there are still a number of solid linebackers available in free agency. The 49ers have already made plenty of moves to address their defensive line, but they now must turn their attention to their linebacker group.

With Dre Greenlaw's injury and the fact that both Oren Burks and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles are free agents, the Niners need to add at least one linebacker this offseason.

That is where Barton comes into the picture.

Barton was drafted by the Seahawks in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. His first few years were not great, but in 2022 he had a breakout season, recording 136 tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions. That great season allowed him to test free agency where he signed with the Washington Commanders.

His 2023 campaign with the Commanders was not as good as his 2022, but it was not terrible. In 13 games, he had 121 tackles and three tackles for loss. For reference, Greenlaw had 120 tackles in 15 games for San Francisco last season.

Even if 2023 was a slight regression for Barton, the 49ers have reason to believe that if they sign him, they would be getting the 2022 version of Barton. He would be playing alongside arguably the best linebacker in the game in Fred Warner, and he would be playing a style of defense that he is used to playing from his time in Seattle.

It seems unlikely that Barton will be going back to the Commanders since Bobby Wagner, another former Seahawk, is going there to reunite with his former defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn. Plus, Barton's contract totaled $3.5 million last season.

If the 49ers can get him on a similar contract, that would be a very affordable deal.

The Kendricks deal falling through is disappointing, but the Niners cannot dwell on it. They need to add more depth to their linebacker ranks, and adding Barton would be a solid first step in doing that.

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