49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 1, 2011
Lawson lands in Cincinnati; OLB to sign 1-year deal

Manny Lawson will join former 49ers teammate Nate Clements in Cincinnati. Lawson plans to sign a one-year deal with the Bengals worth $3 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Lawson's exit from San Francisco was foreshadowed last year when he sought a contract extension but was not granted one. Lawson did not take part in the team's voluntary minicamps and OTAs in 2010.

lawson.jpg

Along with tight end Vernon Davis, Lawson was a first-round draft pick in 2006. Then-coach Mike Nolan and then-personnel director Scot McCloughan envisioned the lanky and athletic Lawson as a pass-rush force off the edge. But while Lawson developed into a reliable starter, he never had more than 6 1/2 sacks in a season. Last season, he was taken off the field on third downs, much to Lawson's frustration. Lawson had 2 ½ sacks in 2010.

The 49ers already have lost three starters from their 2010 defense: ILB Takeo Spikes (San Diego), CB Clements (Cincinnati) and Lawson. Two more players, NT Aubrayo Franklin and S Dashon Goldson, are free agents who are still on the free-agent market. The 49ers are considering re-signing both.

Some - including me - felt that Lawson was better suited as a 4-3, strong-side linebacker because he holds up well against the run and because he is very good at covering tight ends. That indeed may be his role with the Bengals.

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I've gotten a lot of inquiries as to whether Franklin, who visited the 49ers today, signed a deal with the 49ers. As of late Monday night, he had not.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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