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Free agency 2017: Seahawks to sign ex-49ers linebacker Michael Wilhoite

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport rapreport raporeports reported on Thursday evening that the Seattle Seahawks picked up linebacker Michael Wilhoite, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. This follows Seattle’s recent pickup of Arthur Brown, whose career has not lived up to expectations after Baltimore drafted him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Wilhoite is undrafted out of Washburn University in Kansas. The 30-year-old started out with the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks, before the 49ers signed him to the practice squad in 2011. Wilhoite was elevated to the active roster the following season, primarily contributing on special teams before he replaced the injured NaVarro Bowman at inside linebacker in 2014. With Patrick Willis’ sudden retirement, Wilhoite started at middle linebacker for 12 games in 2015 before an ankle injury cut his season short. Wilhoite appeared in every game last season, but only started in a half-dozen games on an otherwise horrible defense. The Niners plan to switch to the 4-3 next season.

Considering Wilhoite’s added worth on special teams, I see him more as a replacement for Brock Coyle, who’s now with San Francisco. Kevin Pierre-Louis has been a disappointment even in spot duty, so he could be competing with Wilhoite and Brown for a place on the team. The Seahawks have yet to re-sign starting strongside linebacker Mike Morgan, so that’s another development to keep an eye on as the offseason continues.