Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today is linebacker Malcolm Smith"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections 49ers Salary CapLevi’s Stadium Events49ers Transactions49ers Injury News49ers Press Conferences & Conference CallsRoster Projections49ers Roster49ers 90-in-90 roster breakdown49ers 90-in-90: LB Malcolm SmithNew Ronnie Lott Jersey ,46commentsBreaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today is linebacker Malcolm SmithPDTShareTweetShareShare49ers 90-in-90: LB Malcolm SmithMalcolm Smith had a terrible, terrible 2017. Terrible because he was out before it even began. Terrible because he was brought on as someone familiar with Robert Saleh’s defensive scheme and seen as an upgrade. Terrible because we saw none of that.Smith may be the most disappointing free agent brought to the 49ers during the Shanahan regime. Yes, worse than Brian Hoyer. So when 2018 rolls around Smith should be charged up and ready to go, right? No. He showed up in 12 games, the least since his rookie season and started in just five of them. Across the board, his statline was not impressive. Elijah Lee has better numbers and makes almost half of what Smith’s revised contract entails. Besides being cheaper, Lee is also younger. If not for his revised contract, Smithwould not be with the 49ers right now. Even with his revised contract, Smith is on thin ice for 2019. The 49ers carry less of a dead money hit if cut after June 1, so he’s got a training camp, but after that it’s fair season. Basic infoAge: 29 Experience: Seven seasons (not including one on IR) Height: 6’Weight: 225 poundsCap StatusHe is in the final year of a revised five-year contract. His final two years were void on March 17. For 2019 he has a cap hit of $5,537,500. Per Over the Cap, if cut after June 1 he carries a dead money hit of $1,337,500. What to expect in 2019The 49ers linebacking group got a shot in the arm with Fred Warner locking down the starting spot and Kwon Alexander/Dre Greenlaw/Elijah Lee fighting over the other side. Is Smith better than any of those guys to start? Time will tell. Is Smith good enough to be back on the depth chart? That’s another question. If he’s the third man off, the 49ers are simply paying him too much for that. As a backup linebacker that’s a decent wage, but with the talent he’s up against it’s hard to gauge where he fits. If he remains, it would be either as a backup or because injuries took the linebacking group and the 49ers had no choice. Looking at the roster right now, expect Smith to be more of a rotational player to come in and spell someone in front of him. Given the talent, it’s hard to envision him as a starting linebacker with this unit. Odds of making the rosterThe 49ers have been busy with the linebacker position. They signed Kwon Alexander in free agency and drafted Dre Greenlaw in the 2019 NFL Draft. Smith has been invisible for most of his time in San Francisco and this is a classic case of the 49ers going younger and cheaper. Had Brock Coyle not retired from the NFL George Kittle Jersey , we might not even be having this discussion—Smith could be gone. Smith will need to really show something to get a roster spot with the 49ers. His contract may be restructured, but it’s still a bit high to be a third-string linebacker.He’s got a shot at training camp and I think it’s a way to gauge how that goes. If everyone stays healthy, and continues to outplay him, he may yet be a casualty. Just before the start of the 2016 season, Bears General Manager Ryan Pace cut kicker Robbie Gould. Since then, Gould leads the NFL in field goal percentage, while the Bears have had a series of kicking problems. Now Gould’s contract with the 49ers is coming to an end, and the dots are easy to connect.And they become even easier to connect given Gould’s recent comments. Gould, who still makes the Chicago area his primary home, made an appearance in Chicago on Friday and told the Associated Press that he still considers himself a Bear.“Once a Bear always a Bear,” he said. “I truly mean that. This is where I spent 11 years of my life playing for an awesome organization. I’ve developed a lot of great relationships throughout the city but also the organization, just like I’ve done in New York, just like I’ve done in San Francisco. Will it happen? I don’t know.”The 49ers will have something to say about that: San Francisco is reportedly read to slap the franchise tag on Gould to keep him from leaving.“They have the opportunity to get a contract done with me,” Gould said of the 49ers. “Obviously, they have exclusive rights to talk to me until free agency opens. There’s no reason not to. . . . At this point, I’m just enjoying being around my kids and not really worried about the football contract.”So while Gould sounds interested in a return to Chicago, and the Bears are surely interested given their recent decision to release Cody Parkey, the 49ers may stand in the way, and keep Gould around for at least another year.