Will 2024 mark final hurrah for Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles with 49ers?

The Niners have made a lot of long-term changes at linebacker in recent years, which casts doubt on Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles' tenure with the team beyond this season.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (45)
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (45) / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The 49ers appreciate Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, but his tenure with the team could come to a close once 2024 is complete.

The San Francisco 49ers are known for boasting plenty of star talent, especially at linebacker where they have two of the NFL's best in Dre Greenlaw and All-Pro Fred Warner.

But one of the unsung heroes of the Niners depth chart is a name who's not always discussed, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, the undrafted free agent who became a part of the defensive depth chart and vital member of special teams back in 2020.

And he's stayed in that role ever since.

However, following two consecutive years in which San Francisco has added more bodies to this position, it's fair to wonder if 2024 will finally be the swan song for the 6-foot-2, 223-pounder in a 49ers uniform.

49ers have plenty of linebackers waiting behind Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles

A year ago, the Niners grabbed two linebackers via the NFL Draft, Dee Winters and Jalen Graham, neither of whom saw significant action during their rookie seasons but factor into the team's long-term plans regardless.

Then, entering 2024, San Francisco used a seventh-round pick to grab Tatum Bethune as a possible depth chart option, and he'll compete directly with Winters and Graham for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Yet the 49ers wanted Flannigan-Fowles back regardless, re-signing him to a one-year deal worth $1.935 million, all of which is fully guaranteed, ensuring he'll find a spot on the regular-season roster.

His role is on special teams, yes. But he's also been a go-to backup with four regular-season starts under his belt since 2020.

The situation gets a bit murkier in the wake of Greenlaw's torn Achilles suffered in the Super Bowl last February. While Greenlaw is unlikely to be back in time for Week 1, opening the door to Flannigan-Fowles to see more field time on defense, memories of him trying to cover Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce in the big game aren't pleasant.

Perhaps that's why the Niners opted to sign former Green Bay Packers All-Pro linebacker De'Vondre Campbell as a free agent earlier this offseason.

That won't endanger Flannigan-Fowles' spot on the 53-man roster at all, though. He's still the superior presence when compared with San Francisco's younger, more recent additions.

However, if any one of those late-drafted linebackers takes a proverbial next step in 2024, it could ultimately spell the end for the veteran's time in the Bay Area.

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