After reaching tentative deals with four offensive players, the 49ers appear to be closing in on bolstering their thin linebacker corps.
A league source confirms the 49ers have engaged in contract talks with the agent for Raiders free-agent linebacker Malcolm Smith. Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com first reported the mutual interest.
Smith is best-remembered for his interception of Colin Kaepernick's pass after Richard Sherman’s tip in the end zone on the throw intended for Michael Crabtree in the closing minute to preserve the Seahawks’ victory over the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game in January 2014.
Smith went on to be named the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII, as he returned an interception for a touchdown and recovered a fumble in Seattle’s 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos.
Smith, who turns 27 in July, spent the past two seasons with the Raiders. He recorded 185 tackles and four sacks in 30 games after signing as a free agent in 2015.
He spent his first four seasons with the Seahawks. Robert Saleh, the 49ers’ defensive coordinator, was a defensive quality control coach in Seattle during Smith’s first three NFL seasons.
NaVorro Bowman, who is coming off a season-ending Achilles injury, and Ray-Ray Armstrong are the 49ers’ only returning linebackers who have seen significant playing time.
Smith’s agent also represents wide receiver Pierre Garçon, with whom the 49ers on Wednesday reached an agreement. Deals cannot become official until Thursday at 1 p.m., the official opening of the free-agent signing period.