Tampa Bay Buccaneers v San Francisco 49ers
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

A veteran makes the most sense if the 49ers are forced to replace Dre Greenlaw

The San Francisco 49ers could have a reunion at linebacker in more ways than one. New defensive coordinator Nick Sorensen and assistant linebackers coach K.J. Wright worked with free agent Bobby Wagner, who is an unrestricted free agent.

Another option is Azeez Al-Shaair, who played high-level football with the Tennessee Titans this past season. Al-Shaair figures to cost too much money, and the 49ers are unlikely to get into a bidding war for an off-ball linebacker one day after approaching their handsomely paid defensive tackle to take a pay cut.

Dre Greenlaw’s Achilles injury he suffered in the Super Bowl may force the Niners’ hand at linebacker this offseason. If that proves to be true, it’s hard to imagine the team rolling with a player next to Fred Warner, who lacks experience.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler believes Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David could be a potential replacement for Greenlaw:

“The Buccaneers will likely try to re-sign linebacker Lavonte David, who made $7.3 million last season and held up well at age 34. One potential team to watch for him is San Francisco. The 49ers are in the market because of Dre Greenlaw’s Achilles injury, but might not spend at the top of it.”

David had 23 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and only allowed 4.7 yards per target in coverage in 2023. It wasn’t but a few seasons ago that David was considered one of the best linebackers in the NFL before Warner took over that title. David has stayed relatively healthy since 2018, only missing six games during that span.

Jordan Hicks is a name to keep an eye on. He’s a veteran, went to Texas, and has played well for three seasons. This was the first year he missed time since 2018.

Other options that may make sense are Willie Gay Jr. or Jordyn Brooks — the other Seattle linebacker who is younger than Wagner and quite good in coverage.

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