Like many other teams, the San Francisco 49ers watched the moves made by other teams after getting their roster down to 53 players. Depending on who is let go by other teams, franchises like the 49ers still have moves to make before Week 1 of the regular season. With only three outside linebackers on their initial 53-man roster, San Francisco was definitely keeping an eye on this position.
When the waiver claim system opened up on Saturday, the 49ers put in a claim for former New York Jets outside linebacker Jamaal Westerman. A fourth-year pro with 3.5 sacks last season, the 49ers lost out on him to division foe Arizona Cardinals, who were awarded Westerman due to their worse record last season. After missing out on the former Jet, the 49ers are opting to go for a very experienced option in former Cardinals linebacker Clark Haggans, as first reported by The Sacramento Bee.
Arizona's starting left outside linebacker last season, Haggans was released as part the Cardinals' need to reach a 53-player roster on Friday. A 12 year veteran, the 35-year-old played his first eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and recorded 14 sacks in his past four seasons with the Cardinals. Also a contributor on special teams last year, he played nearly 75 percent of defensive snaps in 2011.
Nevertheless, considering Haralson's recent injury concerns and questionable status for Week 1, Haggans is primarily a veteran insurance option for the 49ers who could see time on defense on running downs. Serving as the fourth outside linebacker behind starter Aldon Smith, starter Ahmad Brooks, and backup Parys Haralson, Haggans will obviously see much fewer than 75 percent of defensive snaps this season.
As for whether he'll be available for Week 1 action, he is facing a potential three-game suspension after a DUI conviction last year in Arizona. With a disciplinary hearing with the league Wednesday, potential league discipline likely made him a less intriguing player for other teams.
To make room for Haggans on the 53-player roster, the 49ers will have to release a player to make room on the roster. With four tight ends on the roster, Garrett Celek, the only undrafted rookie to make the 53-man roster, could be on the chopping block. Darcel McBath, the fifth safety on the roster, plays a position on the team where this expendable depth and could also be let go to make room. The 49ers will likely wait until Monday to announce the cut.
49ers add Haggans, who will have a disciplinary hearing this week, The Sacramento Bee
Haggans likely headed to 49ers to provide OLB depth, CSN Bay Area
49ers poised to sign veteran OLB Haggans, Niner Insider Blog, SFGate.com
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