By Peter Panacy
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Malcolm Smith finds himself in a precarious spot in 2019, possibly securing a starting job or winding up off the roster altogether. Niner Noise takes a look at his prospects for the season.
When the San Francisco 49ers inked veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith to a five-year, $26.5 million contract in 2017, they were hoping they’d get a high-caliber player channeling his former Super Bowl MVP ways and someone capable of revamping what was an inert and inept defense.
But Smith suffered a torn pectoral before he ever stepped on the field for the Niners in 2017, missing the entire season as a result.
OK, bad luck, perhaps. Yet Smith’s 2018 efforts weren’t particularly inspiring either. And by the year’s end, Smith had been relegated to backup duty, losing his starting linebacker job to a special teams contributor, Elijah Lee.
San Francisco made some changes at linebacker entering 2019. With Fred Warner already cemented as a key piece, the Niners inked veteran backer Kwon Alexander to a lucrative contract and also selected Arkansas rookie Dre Greenlaw in this year’s NFL Draft.
Warner and Alexander are dealing with some injury recovery this offseason, which opened up time for Smith to see first-team reps during...