San Francisco 49ers

49ers add to linebacking corps, sign Philip Wheeler

The 49ers signed ex Colts, Raiders and Dolphins inside linebacker to a one-year deal.
The 49ers signed ex Colts, Raiders and Dolphins inside linebacker to a one-year deal. AP

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers, who have been steadily adding to their inside linebacking corps after losing Patrick Willis and Chris Borland last month, did so again today when they signed seven-year veteran Philip Wheeler to a one-year contract.

Wheeler (6-2, 245) was drafted by the Colts in the third round in 2008, played for the Raiders in 2012 and then signed a five-year deal with the Dolphins in 2013. Miami released him this offseason, so Wheeler will not count against the 49ers in the formula that will determine 2016 compensatory picks.

His best season may have been his lone year in Oakland when he had 109 tackles, three sacks, six pass break ups and two forced fumbles.

The 49ers on Thursday also waived wide receiver/returner Trindon Holliday, guard Fouimalo Fonoti and wide receiver Lance Lewis. Holliday was brought in late last season to compete for the role of returner. Bruce Ellington handled that for most of 2014, but the 49ers have several options this season, including Keith Reaser and newcomer Jarryd Hayne.

As for Wheeler, he joins a crowded group of inside linebackers.

When the 49ers took the field for a Wednesday minicamp, the starters at the position were NaVorro Bowman and Michael Wilhoite. The other players on the roster are Nick Moody, Nick Bellore and Shayne Skov.

The team hasn't taken close looks at several inside linebackers who will be available in the draft, including TCU's Paul Dawson, who visited 49ers headquarters this month. They also have been in contact with veteran free agent Lance Briggs

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