Why the San Francisco 49ers Re-signed Linebacker Brock Coyle

San Francisco 49ers’ General Manager John Lynch tweeted out the anticipated return of linebacker Brock Coyle and he was fired up about it too. 


The 49ers have brought back one of their core special teams players and quality depth guys linebacker Brock Coyle. Niners Live isn’t here to fluff this player up or oversell him to the Forty-Niner Faithful because, as you know, that’s totally not our style.

However, from an objective lens, what we will do is identify players who are worth retaining at the right price (Coyle signed a new three-year deal worth up to 11.5 million) and who are good in their roles and fit the culture.  

Why the San Francisco 49ers Re-signed Linebacker Brock Coyle

Back on March 14, 2017, Niners Live told the Faithful that the signing of Coyle would pay underrated dividends. And, as it turns out, we were right. Coyle was expected to just be a special team’s ace and a versatile backup linebacker that could play all three spots (Mike, Will, and Sam). Turns out he ended up taking reps from former 49ers LB Navorro Bowman, especially in passing situations (via Eric Branch of SF Chronicle). And ultimately, his play and knowledge of defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s defense made the 49ers feel more comfortable with granting Bowman’s wish to be released (per ESPN’s Nick Wagoner).

Rookie LB Reuben Foster was recovering from an ankle injury that forced him to miss six games when Bowman and the 49ers had a mutual parting of ways.

Stats to knowBrock Coyle, all 6-2, 245 lbs., at the age of 27, totaled 64 tackles, 38 coming solo, one pass defended, one forced fumble, four no gain stuffs at the line of scrimmage and a half a sack in 16 games played while starting 10 of those contests. 

Robert Saleh’s comments back in August on Coyle:

“When you have a guy like Brock who can come in and perform the way he does,” Saleh said, “then you take advantage of it.” “He deserves it,” Saleh said when asked why Coyle entered the game. “He works his tail off. He works hard. We wanted to make sure we got him some reps. And, to be honest with you, I feel like he probably should get a little bit more.”

Also, per Branch’s article, Coyle got better over the last month of the season once he settled down and just played his game within his abilities and talent level. He’s been a mentor to Foster who wasn’t ready to take over the Mike position just yet.

Robert Saleh’s comments back in October on Coyle:

“We think Brock Coyle is one of the better communicators on this defense,” Saleh said. “Being able to get the closed call and all that. When you have a guy who can command the huddle, set the closed call and make all the checks, it puts 10 other people at ease. Not to say Reuben can’t do it, because he does a great job with it.”

Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s comments after re-signing Coyle

“Brock stepped up big for us last season when we experienced some adversity at the linebacker position,” said Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. “He’s a selfless guy that does everything the right way. We’ve always known Brock to be a guy we can count on and it was great to see him play the way he did when given the opportunity.”

Final thoughts on Brock Coyle

The narrative has been culture, family, toughness, versatility, smart football players and the right fit when it comes to the new regime of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch as they work to bring in the right players. Coyle fits the bill as a quality role player with starting experience and a key core special team’s player. With Foster’s off the field issues looming over the team and his availability for the start of the season being in jeopardy, re-signing Coyle was vital to the team’s success. 

Injury update: Brock Coyle is undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in his shoulder. Recovery time is five to six-months including rehab (per Matt Maiocco).

Recent Niners Live article alerts: Why Former Giants’ C-G Weston Richburg fits Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and Why RB Jerick McKinnon fits Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course. Often imitated, but never duplicated.

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus49ers.comESPN.comNFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, player break down specialist, Co-Editor, Sequoia Sims