We have a signing! It’s not Nnamdi Asomugha, and Charles Woodson’s agent said they didn’t even talk contract numbers (which probably just means they were so far apart it was as if they didn’t talk about them), but they have added a live body to their roster due to the agency that is free. And by free, we mean not free.
The San Francisco 49ers signed linebacker Dan Skuta to a two-year deal on Thursday evening. He won’t actually play much at inside linebacker unless something really bad happens (he has four career starts and has played about 300 snaps on defense over his four-year career), but his addition may spell the end for Tavares Gooden and/or Larry Grant.
What Skuta should do is help shore up a unit that was surprisingly bad last year: kickoff coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Skuta has been a plus-coverage guy on kickoffs for the last couple years. However, he also committed four penalties last year. I don’t have access to what specific penalties they were or their respective situations, but generally all penalties on special teams are pretty much inexcusable. BAD SKUTA.
However, Skuta did lead the Bengals in special teams tackles with 17 in 2012, which means he’s a guy who you at least notice. If Brad Seely wants to make up for a forgettable special teams year (besides Andy Lee, of course), he’ll make sure Skuta becomes a great coverage guy for the 49ers, hopefully without the penalties.
Here’s the statement the 49ers carefully crafted to commemorate the occasion:
“We are pleased to be adding Dan to our roster,” said 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke. “He is an established special teams player and versatile linebacker who fits our system very well.”
The 49ers were actually better in punt coverage last year after allowing that touchdown to Randall Cobb in Week 1, allowing 6.9 yards per return compared to 8.1 in 2011. That wasn’t the case for the “Tony Montana Squad,” which played more like the “Manny Ray Squad” in 2012. The 49ers allowed more yards per kickoff return during the 2012 regular season (26.9) than any other team besides the Oakland Raiders (28.9). At least they didn’t allow any kickoff returns for touchdowns, though. Until … yeah.
The 49ers’ mission to right every Super Bowl wrong continues. With Adam Schefter saying tonight that Ed Reed has less than a 50% chance of signing with the Houston Texans, I have a sneaking suspicion that he could be on his way to Santa Clara for a visit at some point as well.