One day after his visit to Santa Clara, Rams free-agent safety Craig Dahl inked a three-year, $5 million deal with the 49ers.
"It's not the enemy anymore," said Dahl, whose familiarity with the division was attractive to the 49ers. "... I was privileged to play in the NFC West, and I'm really familiar with what's going on here in San Francisco, and the direction they're heading. I couldn't be happier with the opportunity I've been given."
Dahl said he hoped to "mesh well in the secondary and fill the void" created when Dashon Goldson signed a five-year deal with the Buccaneers earlier this week. Dahl also plays the same punt-coverage position that Goldson handled for the 49ers the last two seasons.
After meeting with Charles Woodson and flirting with Ed Reed -- both of them likely hall of famers -- the team went with a far more anonymous safety. Dahl, 27, started all 16 games last season in St. Louis, finishing with 78 tackles, two pass break ups and an interception. He's started 40 games in the last four years in St. Louis.
Dahl's deal, which comes with a modest $800,000 signing bonus, does not preclude the 49ers from adding another safety, such as Woodson, to the mix. And Dahl said he wouldn't be disappointed if the 49ers sign someone else at his position. "I'm always open to competition," he said. "The team that's progressing is always bringing in guys for competition."
The 6-1, 212 pounder played at North Dakota State, which is where 49ers general manager Trent Baalke used to be an assistant coach. Dahl was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Giants in 2007. "We are pleased to announce the signing of Craig," general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "He is an experienced veteran with excellent intangibles, who has working knowledge of the NFC West."
The 49ers must replace Goldson, who signed a five-year deal with the Buccaneers earlier this week. Dahl now enters a mix of potential players at the position that includes 2012 rookies Trenton Robinson and Michael Thomas and special teams ace C.J. Spillman. The team also is likely to turn to the draft -- which is deep in safeties -- next month.
The 49ers also had looked at Louis Delmas, who signed a two-year deal to return to the Lions.
-- Matt Barrows