The 49ers signed veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks earlier this week to provide some needed depth in the wake of multiple injuries at the position. But there's reason to believe they envision him fulfilling a larger role than that.
ESPN's Field Yates revealed the details of Kendricks' one-year contract with San Francisco on Wednesday. Kendricks will make $1.25 million, $200k of which is fully guaranteed; however, he will only count for $866,176 against the salary cap as part of the veteran salary benefit.
That $200k is considerably more money than either of the other two players that he will be competing with are guaranteed. New 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans confirmed that Kendricks will be working at the SAM position along with Azeez Al-Shaair ($5k guaranteed) and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles ($0 guaranteed).
"Yeah, right now Mych is starting out at the SAM position," Ryans said Tuesday. "So, we start him out there in our base, SAM position. And Mych, he's familiar with some of the things we do in our scheme. So, it's not all new to him, maybe new terminology and things like that he just has to translate. But Mych, he'll grasp the concepts pretty quickly. He's a good football player, a good veteran player who's done it in this league and I'm just excited to add some depth to that room with a veteran who's done it before."
The 49ers figure to keep five linebackers on the final 53-man roster, with three spots presumably occupied by Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw and converted safety Marcell Harris. As such, someone in the SAM battle likely will be the odd man out.