Linebacker Elijah Lee, who appeared in 38 games with the 49ers over the past three seasons, agreed to terms with the Detroit Lions on Friday, according to his agent.
Lee is a three-year NFL veteran whom the 49ers did not tender as a restricted free agent, allowing him to sign with any team at any time. The 49ers receive no compensation from Lee's departure.
The 49ers placed second-round tenders on restricted free agents Matt Breida and Kendrick Bourne. But the 49ers did not give Lee a qualifying offer. The club signed Arizona Cardinals free-agent Joe Walker to, in essence, take Lee’s spot on the team’s roster.
Lee appeared in 16 games in 2018 and started five games. He registered a career-high 65 tackles with two passes defensed and a forced fumble.
The 49ers signed Lee off the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad in September of 2017. He was a seventh-round draft pick of the Vikings that year out of Kansas State.
Lee, 24, was among the 49ers’ final cuts before the start of the regular season last year.
He was promoted from the practice squad after Kwon Alexander sustained a torn pectoral. Lee appeared in eight regular-season games and recorded one start. He played 20 snaps on special teams in Super Bowl LIV with one tackle.