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Malcolm Smith to sign with 49ers, adding veteran leadership

The 49ers are going to get an experienced leader on defense.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been over three years since Malcolm Smith won Super Bowl MVP in the Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 decimation of the Denver Broncos. Since then, the linebacker has made a name for himself as a member of the Oakland Raiders, cashing in on his success on the biggest platform in all of football.

Smith’s play in Oakland has yielded dividends, as the linebacker is expected to agree to terms with the 49ers.

While he’s best known for his performance in Super Bowl XLVIII, Smith has emerged as a capable player at the linebacker position throughout his two years in Oakland. With 225 tackles, four sacks, nine pass defenses, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions in the past two seasons, Smith has made plays. It’s probably not a coincidence that Oakland’s defense, though still not dominant, has improved over the past couple of years.

Smith provided a veteran presence on a Raiders defense that was trying to help maintain leads built by Derek Carr and the Raiders offense. Going to San Francisco, he’ll be joining a unit that hasn’t been quite the same since Jim Harbaugh’s departure as well as several player retirements.

SB Nation’s 49ers blog Niners Nation says that Smith has experience with Robert Saleh from his tenure in Seattle. Smith will know how the defense works, so this seems to be a good move for Kyle Shanahan’s team.