49ers add veteran Slaughter to LB corps

The 49ers added depth and experience to their depleted linebacker corps Monday when they signed seventh-year veteran free agent T.J. Slaughter.

Slaughter, originally a third-round draft choice by Jacksonville in 2000, spent three seasons with the Jaguars and began the 2003 season with them before being released in October. He spent two weeks with the Green Bay Packers before finishing the 2003 season with the Baltimore Ravens, where he also played in 2004 under 49ers coach Mike Nolan. Slaughter played with the New Orleans Saints last year, recording 22 tackles in 10 games.

Slaughter has recorded 229 tackles and two sacks while earning 31 starts in 68 career NFL games. He has played both inside and outside linebacker and that versatility should fit in well with the 49ers as they look to bolster their 3-4 scheme after the offseason exodus of starting outside linebackers Julian Peterson and Andre Carter. Slaughter also has a reputation as a standout performer on special teams, and he gives the Niners a proven veteran performer at a position at which they figure to add at least one top prospect in the draft later this month.

Slaughter is the third linebacker to be signed by the 49ers in the past two months. The team re-signed starting inside linebacker Derek Smith, the team's co-MVP in 2005, to a three-year deal in early March and signed unrestricted free agent Brandon Moore to a five-year deal later in the month. Moore is another linebacker that can play both the inside and outside positions.

The 49ers signed inside linebacker Jeff Ulbrich and outside linebacker Corey Smith to contract extensions late last season. Those five players currently form the core of the team's linebacker position.


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