San Francisco 49ers

Linebacker watch: Where things stand on 49ers roster, with Lance Briggs

Elk Grove’s Lance Briggs remains a free agent. He visited the 49ers in March.
Elk Grove’s Lance Briggs remains a free agent. He visited the 49ers in March. AP

The 49ers continue to have an interest in ex-Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, according to a league source. The team has bulked up the position since Patrick Willis' and Chris Borland's sudden retirements in March, but they did not take any inside linebackers in the draft.

Briggs, who played 12 years in Chicago and was voted to seven Pro Bowls over that span, visited the 49ers in March along with a host of other inside linebackers. The team has signed three since, including Desmond Bishop, Nick Bellore and Philip Wheeler.

They joined a group that included NaVorro Bowman, who is making strides from his January 2014 ACL-MCL injury, Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody and Shayne Skov. Bowman and Wilhoite were in the starting roles during last month's minicamp, and the team is working on a contract extension with Wilhoite.

Ahmad Brooks also was an inside linebacker when he first entered the league in 2006. General manager Trent Baalke was asked last week whether Brooks could move back to the inside.

"Well, he's played inside before," Baalke said. "He's played inside in our goal-line packages as (recently) as last year. Never say never. He's versatile. Ahmad has played in there, so he's a guy you can cross train. But right now, he's starting at outside linebacker. We are going to take all these guys, put them out there on the practice field, let the coaches decide who plays, where they play and how they play."

Brooks last week was named in a lawsuit that alleges he groped a 22-year-old woman who was unconscious at the time. It's not known whether he is the subject of an ongoing police investigation into the matter.

As for Briggs, he is from Elk Grove and at one point six years ago it seemed as if he would join his home-town team. If the 49ers or any other team signed him Tuesday, he would not count against his new team when it comes to compensatory picks in the 2016 draft.

Reached Monday, Briggs said he was staying in shape but said he did not know if a deal with the 49ers was imminent.

Briggs turns 35 in November. If the 49ers signed him, he'd be the fourth oldest player on the team behind Phil Dawson, 40, Justin Smith, 35 and Anquan Boldin, 34.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at

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