The 49ers on Friday added two players whose hopes of making the 53-man roster appear directly related to their contributions on special teams.
Linebacker Brock Coyle and safety Don Jones are under-the-radar signings who underwent physicals and finalized their two-year contracts in Santa Clara on Friday. They visited the 49ers along with higher-profile free agents Matt Barkley, a quarterback, and wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, who also signed contracts on Friday.
Coyle, 26, saw action in 12 games last season with three starts. His best game was against Buffalo in November, when he started at outside linebacker and recorded eight tackles. In three of the games in which Coyle appeared, he played solely on special teams.
The Seahawks did not tender Coyle as a restricted free agent, making him free to sign with the 49ers without providing Seattle any compensation.
Jones, who turns 26 in May, has appeared in 56 games since entering the NFL in 2013 as a seventh-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins.
In his first two seasons he was best-known for critical remarks directed toward Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to enter the NFL. After Sam was drafted in 2014, Jones tweeted “OMG” and “horrible.” Jones apologized to Sam, and the Dolphins fined him and excused him from the team until he underwent educational training.
After playing 16 games with Miami as a rookie, he was waived and ended up with New England for nine games before returning to Miami. He has also spent time with New Orleans, Cleveland and Houston.
Last season, Jones (5-11, 195) appeared in nine games with the Texans and still tied for the team-lead with 11 tackles on special teams. He added two more special-teams tackles in the postseason.
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