49ers Sign LB James Burgess to One-Year Deal

It seems at this point in Burgess's career, if he's going to make the 49ers final roster, he'll have to make it as a special teamer.
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The 49ers just made a move to strengthen their special teams.

They signed veteran linebacker and special-teams specialist James Burgess to a one-year deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Burgess, 27, is a former undrafted free agent who played on four different practice squads until the Cleveland Browns signed him in 2017. That season, Burgess started nine games at inside linebacker, recorded 75 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Not bad.

And then in 2019, Burgess started 10 games for the New York Jets at middle linebacker, recorded 80 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and one safety. Also not bad.

But in 2020, Burgess signed with the Green Bay Packers, appeared in only four games and played zero defensive snaps. He was a special teamer only, and he finished the season on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury.

It seems at this point in Burgess's career, if he's going to make the 49ers final roster, he'll have to make it as a special teamer. And he might have to spend part or all of the season on the practice squad.

The 49ers need Burgess because veteran linebacker Nathan Gerry, whom they signed to a one-year deal this offseason, has missed the first week of OTAs with an injury. He spends sessions jogging on the side field. Perhaps Burgess is Gerry insurance in case Gerry can't return any time soon.

The 49ers have been looking for a veteran linebacker recently, as they worked out Brandon Marshall last week. But Burgess is healthier and four years younger.