As Bowman rehabs, 49ers look to add linebacker depth

As Bowman rehabs, 49ers look to add linebacker depth
March 26, 2014, 12:15 pm
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Michael Wilhoite is curretnly slated to start at inside linebacker until NaVorro Bowman returns. (USATSI)

Programming note: 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco is in Orlando, Florida for the NFL owners meetings; check back for all his coverage and watch SportsNet Central every night at 6 and 10:30 p.m. for all the day’s football news

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The 49ers were already known to be in the market for a wide receiver and cornerback.

The 49ers also expressed interest in adding depth at inside linebacker, according to a source at the NFL owners meetings.

The 49ers are not expected to clear All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman for the opening of the regular season after he underwent surgery Feb. 4 to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. Bowman is signed through the 2019 season, and the 49ers have said they are not going to take any chances.

Michael Wilhoite, who started two games last season when Patrick Willis was unavailable due to a groin strain, is currently the 49ers’ top backup at inside linebacker. Nick Moody appeared in just four games in his rookie season.

The 49ers are interested in adding a bargain free agent for depth, the source said. It is not known if the 49ers have engaged in any talks with free agents. And the club could also look to add depth at inside linebacker in the May 8-10 draft.

Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks saw some action at inside linebacker in goal-line situations at inside linebacker in the playoff game against the Carolina Panthers, but 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said there has not been much thought about moving him inside while Bowman is out of action.

“He’s an outside guy,” Harbaugh said.

General manager Trent Baalke spoke with Bowman a week ago, Harbaugh said, and reported Bowman is doing well in his early rehab work. Harbaugh said last month that it's realistic to expect a midseason return for Bowman.

[RELATED: Harbaugh: Realistic return for Bowman is midseason]

“I also talked to (agent) Drew Rosenhaus just the other day here,” Harbaugh said. “And apparently NaVorro is doing really well, which is no surprise because he’s such a tremendous athlete. (I) just knew if anybody would be doing really well at this point, it would be him.”


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