Patriots' LB Banta-Cain Signs With 49ers

Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain agreed to a deal with the San Francisco 49ers this afternoon ending his four-year career in New England.

Patriots' free agent linebacker Tully Banta-Cain reportedly agreed to a deal with the San Francisco 49ers Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not immediately available. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound defender ends his four-year career in New England to move back home. Banta-Cain, a former defensive end at California, was selected by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft (239th overall).

Banta-Cain wanted to play for a team that could use him as an outside linebacker. His first visit was to the St. Louis Rams, which run more of a 4-3 scheme. Although he reportedly received a contract offer, Banta-Cain left to field other offers. The Steelers also spoke with the former Patriot before he headed to the west coast. According to a report in the Press Democrat, Banta-Cain's agent Jim Sims, was scheduled to meet with the 49ers to hammer out the details of a potential deal early Tuesday morning.

New England Patriots linebackers Tully Banta-Cain (95), Chad Brown (98) and defender Guss Scott (29) at training camp July 29, 2006 (Photo / Kate Hamlin)

The move means that New England lost another of their linebackers to team that runs the same defensive scheme elsewhere. In 2006, the Patriots released outside linebacker Willie McGinest who turned around to sign a deal to join the Cleveland Browns. Matt Chatham, an inside linebacker, left via free agency to join the Jets.

Banta-Cain was more of a part time starter who split time with other backers to fill McGinest's old spot on the outside. Successful as an outside speed rusher, the 5th year player managed 5.5 sacks, 40 tackles (27 solo) and 1 forced fumble last season.

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