The 49ers signed free-agent linebacker and special teams player Dekoda Watson, who is familiar to defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, to a three-year deal, the team announced Friday.
Watson, 29, has started seven games since being a seventh-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2010, though he has no defensive starts since 2014 when he was a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Saleh was the Jaguars linebackers coach that season, meaning that the 49ers now have three inside linebackers — free-agent additions Malcolm Smith and Brock Coyle are the others — who are familiar with the defense Saleh will run this season.
Like Watson, Coyle mostly has been known for his play on special teams. Smith is the frontrunner for the weak-side linebacker position for the upcoming season
Watson (6-2, 245) was released on Nov. 11 of 2014 and picked up by the Cowboys. He spent 2015 with the Patriots and last season in Denver where he had a team-high 11 tackles on special teams.
The 49ers have signed 15 free agents in the last four weeks and traded for interior offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah.