Eric Kendricks rebuffs 49ers, joins this hated rival instead

Perhaps Eric Kendricks remembered he had a vacation planned in late January of 2025.

Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Eric Kendricks (6)
Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Eric Kendricks (6) / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Eric Kendricks isn't coming to the 49ers after all despite earlier reports. Instead, he's opting to join the Cowboys in free agency.

On the first day of the NFL new year, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the San Francisco 49ers were inking former Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks, which would help shore up the Niners' linebacker spot in the wake of Dre Greenlaw's torn Achilles, suffered last February during the Super Bowl.

Well, so much for that.

The deal, of course, couldn't have been made official until the actual start of the league new year, which took place at 4 p.m. ET on March 13, which meant there was wiggle room for last-minute changes.

In Kendricks' case, that's precisely what happened.

Eric Kendrick chooses Cowboys over 49ers (and it's understandable why)

At the 11th hour, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Kendricks ultimately chose to deny the offer San Francisco was going to give him and opted to join the Dallas Cowboys instead:

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

Now, there are a couple of reasons why Kendricks opted to do this.

For starters, Kendricks will ultimately play third fiddle behind Greenlaw, following his return, and All-Pro Fred Warner. In Dallas, Kendricks is much more likely to assume a more prominent role.

Additionally, Kendricks reunites with the Vikings' former head coach, now-Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, and that familiarity had to play a part.

There's probably contractual and cash considerations, too, but it's feasible that Kendricks went with the better situation for him instead of falling into a spot where he'd likely be a key backup over the long run of 2024.

That said, the Cowboys do have a seemingly annual tradition of getting bounced in the playoffs early, so it's a bit of a shame he'd rather go there instead of joining a top Super Bowl contender.

His choice, though.

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