After Elvis Dumervil signed with the 49ers in June, he looked at general manager John Lynch and congratulated him.

“I said, ‘Listen, you just got the steal of this free agency,’” Dumervil recalled. “‘Without a doubt.’”

Dumervil, 33, clearly doesn’t harbor any, but there are doubts surrounding him this summer.

The outside linebacker enters his 12th season with 99 sacks (third among active players), five Pro Bowl berths … and a recent history that suggests the quarterback menace is now being manhandled by Father Time.

Even Lynch acknowledged the addition of Dumervil, the second-oldest player on the roster, was odd, on the surface. Rebuilding teams such as the 49ers don’t usually invest in 30-somethings with declining production and expanding medical files.

Consider: In 2014, with the Ravens, Dumervil set a franchise record with 17 sacks. In 2015: six sacks. In 2016: three sacks while missing eight games due to an Achilles issue that dated to the previous season.

“We understand that we’re going be patient and do this thing the right way, so you don’t want to take a bunch of 33-year-old guys coming off injuries,” Lynch said. “But we felt like everything weighed, Elvis was the guy … I think there was some risk in it, and there still is, but we felt like it was a risk worth taking.”

The 49ers gave Dumervil a two-year, $8 million contract with $1.5 million guaranteed because they didn’t satisfactorily address perhaps the most important position on their defense in the draft or early free agency. They moved Arik Armstead to the “Leo” position, a spot reserved for their best pass-rusher, but Armstead (6-foot-7) is taller than a classic Leo and has 4.5 career sacks.

Dumervil? He’s one of eight players with two 17-sack seasons since sacks became an official statistic in 1982 and is one of two players on team with more than 14 career sacks.

But is he now a lion in winter? If so, he’ll go out roaring – as he did when asked about the perception that he’s old and broken-down.

“I can’t control how people view and see the game, shame on them,” Dumervil said. “… The last couple years I’ve been banged up and the people in the Ravens organization, they knew. But at the end the day, nobody cares. I thought I was just hurt, but I was injured. You play through hurt, and that’s what I tried to do, but looking physically it didn’t make sense to go out there looking back it.”

In 2015, Dumervil sat out the first week of training camp with Achilles pain that increased in intensity during the regular season. At the end of the season, Dumervil had six sacks in 16 games, earned a trip to Honolulu as a Pro Bowl alternate — and discovered his Achilles was shredded.

“Before the Pro Bowl, I got an MRI and the doctor told me it was a 60 percent torn Achilles,” Dumervil said. “What do you do? I said f— it, I’m going to the Pro Bowl with my wife. It was a long year. I was like ‘We are going to f— Hawaii.’”

Dumervil had surgery in February 2016 and missed eight of the first 10 games. He returned to record three sacks in the final six games, and Lynch said executives Adam Peters and Martin Mayhew closely examined those final contests this spring.

They saw a pass-rusher who had rediscovered his explosiveness, and Lynch felt comfortable taking the chance based partly on their past. Lynch ended his 15-year career as Dumervil’s teammate with the Broncos from 2006-07.

“I’ve played with guy,” Lynch said. “I’ve seen him and I’ve seen the kind of impact he can have on a room. I knew what kind of pro he was.”

Dumervil began his pro career fueled by a draft-day slight. Due to his height (5-11), he was a fourth-round pick in 2006 despite ending his career at Louisville by leading the nation in sacks (20) and forced fumbles (10) while becoming a first-team All-American.

Lynch said he was eager for Dumervil to lead a young group of linemen that includes Armstead, 23, DeForest Buckner, 23, and rookie Solomon Thomas, 21. But Dumervil’s influence has been wide-ranging.

“His leadership skills have had an impact on me,” said All-Pro inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman, 29. “He’s done it … He’s definitely eager to prove that he still has it.”

Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, 28, credits Dumervil for setting an example of “greatness” during the first two seasons of a career that’s included five Pro Bowl berths. They were teammates in Denver from 2011-12, and they reconnected again this week when the Broncos had two joint practices with the 49ers.

On Wednesday, as Dumervil was conducting a television interview behind him, Miller was asked if his old friend had much left in the tank.

“Pass-rushers, they play damn near as long as quarterbacks,” Miller said. “You might lose other aspects of your game, but that pass-rush is always going to stay there. And Elvis is a true pass-rusher. A natural. I watch him on film. If he can stay healthy, I feel like he’s stull got four or five more years of pass-rushing. It’s like a designated hitter in baseball. He can be that for five more years.”

So how did Lynch respond to Dumervil’s prediction that he’d be the steal of free agency?

“He laughed,” Dumervil said. “He was like ‘I know, I know.’ I just wanted him to know I’m healthy. I don’t play this game for money, or whatever. That’s not why I’m playing. I’m playing again because I love the game. I like hitting quarterbacks. So this is not f— about coming to California to sip on a Cali drink. It ain’t that kind of game.”

Eric Branch is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @Eric_Branch

Sack masters

The top active players in career sacks:

1. Julius Peppers (Panthers), 143.5

2. Terrell Suggs (Ravens), 114.5

3. Elvis Dumervil (49ers), 99.0

4. Tamba Hali (Chiefs), 89.5

T5. James Harrison (Steelers), 81.5

T5. Cam. Wake (Dolphins), 81.5

7. J.J. Watt (Texans), 76

8. Von Miller (Broncos), 73.5

9. Cliff Avril (Seahawks), 73

10. Clay Matthews (Packers), 72.5

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