Incoming 49ers free-agent Eric Kendricks changes mind, joins Cowboys

Mar 13, 2024, 5:17 PM | Updated: 9:51 pm

Eric Kendricks #6 of the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on September 10, 2023 in Inglewood, C...

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Eric Kendricks #6 of the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on September 10, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Eric Kendricks era in San Francisco came almost as fast as it went, with the player flipping teams at the 11th hour.

Reports surfaced Wednesday afternoon that the linebacker would not be joining the 49ers after all. Instead, he’s chosen to reunite with his old head coach, Mike Zimmer, and the Dallas Cowboys. SF reportedly made a strong offer to sign the highly-accomplished veteran, but it wasn’t enough in the end.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first with the news, as other national media confirmed it thereafter.

Eric Kendricks, 32, is entering his 10th season in the NFL. He spent the first eight years with the Minnesota Vikings, becoming an All-Pro in 2019. Kendricks spent seven of those seasons working with Zimmer, understanding his defensive scheme inside-and-out. While further details have not been provided on his decision to spurn the 49ers, comfortability must be considered as a contributing factor.

The Clovis, CA native spent time with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2023, racking up 117 combined tackles. In total, Kendricks has accumulated over 1,000 tackles in his professional career, playing in 138 contests. He also has 19.5 sacks and 64 pass break-ups. Per Pro Football Focus, Kendricks ranks 13th amongst LBs since 2020 (72.1), showing his productivity has never wafered.

Losing a free agent to Dallas is one thing, the Kendricks loss hurts SF on multiple fronts.

The veteran LB was expected to serve as the No.2 behind All-Pro Fred Warner, seen as the holdover plan while fellow LB Dre Greenlaw recovers from a torn achilles. Now, that plan goes out the window, with the 49ers having to go back into the market for a third LB.

The 2024 market has shriveled up following the first 72 hours of free agency, with only a handful of quality players available at each position. General Manager John Lynch and the 49ers will need to work fast to find a replacement for next season.

Key offseason dates for the San Francisco 49ers

  • March 13 – The 2024 free agency signing period begins at 1 p.m. PST
  • March 24-27 – Annual league meeting in Orlando
  • April 25-27 – 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit

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