SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -The San Francisco 49ers waived linebacker Derek Smith on Tuesday, cutting ties with their longtime leading tackler whose role was assumed last season by rookie Patrick Willis.
Smith, an 11-year pro who signed a three-year contract extension before the 2006 season, was due to make $3.28 million in base salary next season despite his dwindling role on the San Francisco defense. Willis, the NFL's defensive rookie of the year, took over Smith's role as the 49ers' defensive leader and top tackler.
``Derek has been an important member of the 49ers,'' coach Mike Nolan said. ``You don't make these kinds of decisions without battling the emotion that is natural when you are dealing with a player that has done so much for your organization. We made the decision because we have quality linebackers who we think are the future of the 49ers. Derek was a model professional, and he influenced a lot of the younger players with his work ethic.''
Smith has long been one of the NFL's top unsung defensive players, annually racking up gaudy tackling statistics with little fanfare. He made at least 123 tackles in each of his first nine NFL seasons - four with Washington and five with San Francisco, where he has played since signing as a free agent in 2001.
Smith was voted the 49ers' co-MVP in 2005, but missed two games in 2006 because of a strained eye muscle that limited his peripheral vision, eventually requiring surgery. He started 14 games and made 98 tackles last season, but his playing time decreased significantly in the final months of San Francisco's fifth straight losing campaign.

Recent NFL Discussions

COLL PLAYS FOR TUES THE MAC LOVE IT on Tue, Nov 2017 by Timmy1961
Tuesday Picks on Tue, Nov 2017 by BamaHater
Carolina Wise Guy NBA Selection 11/21! on Tue, Nov 2017 by CarolinaWiseGuy
Carolina Wise Guy CFB Selections 11/21! on Tue, Nov 2017 by CarolinaWiseGuy

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Giants vs. Redskins Total Pick Will the over cash for bettors when the Washington Redskins and New York Giants on Thursday night when the NFC East rivals clash at 8:30 p.m. ET?
Thumbnail Chargers vs. Cowboys Total Pick Will the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys combine for enough points to push the score over the betting total when the two teams meet at 4:30 p.m. ET on...
Week 12 NFL Survivor Pool Picks 11/21/17
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Thumbnail Week 12 NFL Survivor Pool Picks Need help making your selection of your NFL survivor pool? As we do every Tuesday, here are three options for Week 12 to help push you deeper into your NFL survivor...
Thumbnail Vikings vs. Lions Total Pick Can the Detroit Lions find a way to move the ball on the impressive Minnesota Vikings defense when the two meet up on Thanksgiving Day at...
Thumbnail Falcons vs. Seahawks Prediction Are the Seattle Seahawks a safe bet to cover the point spread as a home favorite tonight when they host the Atlanta Falcons? Kick-off for Monday night is set for 8:30 p.m....

NFL Team Pages