49ers Sign Former All-Pro as Dre Greenlaw Insurance Policy - Sport News

49ers Sign Former All-Pro as Dre Greenlaw Insurance Policy

The 49ers are not giving up hope that linebacker Dre Greenlaw, who tore his Achilles tendon in a heartbreaking injury during the Super Bowl, will be back on the field and ready to produce next year. It’s just difficult to say when that will happen, so in the interim, the team went and found a former All-Pro linebacker who just happens to be a guy the 49ers front office has long been eyeing.

49ers linebacker Eric Kendricks will take over as Dre Greenlaw rehabs.

The guy: Eric Kendricks, recently a captain with the Chargers.

The report of Kendricks’ signing came from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who wrote on Twitter/X: “49ers are signing former Chargers LB Eric Kendricks to a one-year deal, per source. Kendricks was a Chargers captain last season, when he started 14 games and finished second on the team with 117 tackles.”

Schefter then also mentioned the driving force behind signing Kendricks: the Greenlaw injury. The 49ers are plenty happy with the Greenlaw-Fred Warner combo at middle linebacker, but the prospect of not having Greenlaw made the Kendricks signing a necessity.

Eric Kendricks Was a 2019 All-Pro

Kendricks has been a solid performer throughout his nine seasons (eight with Minnesota), and has topped 100 tackles in eight straight years. He had his best season in 2019, when he was a star in coverage—he had 12 passes defended—and was named both All-Pro and a Pro Bowler.

There was speculation that he would go to Dallas, where he could be reunited with his old coach, former Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, but instead, Kendricks comes to San Francisco. He will be reunited with former Chargers coach Brandon Staley, now a defensive assistant for the 49ers.

As Pro Football Focus pointed out on Twitter/X, Kendricks has been one of the most consistent linebackers in the league over the last four seasons. The site posted, “Eric Kendricks: 72.1 PFF Grade since 2020 13th among all LBs during that time.”

49ers Cautious on Dre Greenlaw Injury

Kendricks is part of a subtle defensive overhaul from the 49ers in the last few days. The mainstays of the D are still in place, but gone are the likes of Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell and Chase Young, with edge rushers Yetur Gross-Matos and Leonard Floyd coming in, along with interior lineman Jordan Elliott from the Browns.

It can be argued that, when injuries are factored in, the 49ers upgraded at every spot with those transactions.

Now Kendricks is added to the mix, and he is not meant to be an upgrade, just an insurance policy on a Greenlaw return. Greenlaw suffered his devastating torn Achilles injury when he was simply going back on the field after a 49ers punt with 9:26 to go in the half of the Super Bowl. He fell awkwardly as he began to ran out, one of the more bizarre injuries in Super Bowl history.

It is possible that Greenlaw could miss all of 2024. It is also possible that he could be ready by September. That’s why the 49ers needed to get Kendricks into place.

GM John Lynch talked about the uncertainty around Greenlaw earlier this month.

“Achilles, you know, they take some time, right?” he told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco. “So you’ve got to respect that. Now, having said that, I know that Dre, he’s a special athlete. Those guys tend to heal faster, but I think with an Achilles, there’s just a timeline that you kind of have to give it. You can be ultra-aggressive.

“You also got to be smart. And so we will be.”

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