The Tennessee Titans are expected to sign 49ers free-agent linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported Tuesday, citing a source.
This comes one day after Titans free-agent linebacker David Long Jr. agreed to a two-year contract with the Miami Dolphins, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
After going undrafted in 2019, Al-Shaair earned a spot as a rookie on San Francisco’s 53-man roster because of his special teams play.
Al-Shaair emerged as the 49ers’ starting linebacker during the 2021 season and returned to the team on a $3.9 million deal last offseason.
But his 2022 season hit a bump in the road when he sustained an MCL tear in his right knee in the 49ers’ Week 3 loss to the Denver Broncos. He was expected to miss a large chunk of the season, but returned in Week 10 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Overall, Al-Shaair played in 12 games last season and started nine, producing a total of 44 tackles (20 solo) over 313 defensive snaps.
In the past two seasons, Al-Shaair, who turns 26 in August, posted 146 tackles, two sacks and an interception in 25 regular-season games. He's played 57 games in four seasons with 199 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
The talent undoubtedly is there, but the 25-year-old needed a bigger role to showcase it, and the 49ers, whose linebacker room already has stars like Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, weren’t able to give that to him.
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The Titans, though, should be able to provide that type of role after the club parted ways with both of their starting linebackers from last season in Long Jr. and Zach Cunningham.