49ers’ defense gets boost with addition of LB Takeo Spikes

The San Francisco 49ers signed inside linebacker Takeo Spikes, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. To make room for the signing, the team also released LB Brandon Moore.

Spikes, 31, and the 49ers had been talking since March after he was released by Philadelphia after just one season. He was due to make $5 million in 2008, and the Eagles felt they could use that money elsewhere since they liked their younger linebackers.

Spikes started 14 games for them last year before tearing a rotator cuff and having surgery. The 49ers’ doctors had to check out his shoulder Sunday before the club would agree to a deal. When Spikes visited their headquarters in March, he was rehabbing the shoulder and couldn’t pass a physical.

Spikes has lost a step over the years, but playing inside linebacker in Mike Nolan’s 3-4 defense doesn’t require sideline-to-sideline ability. This move solidifies the run defense a bit, but the question remains if whether or not the 49ers will get enough of a pass rush from their front seven. Either way, Spikes is a terrific leader and it brings a lot of experience to San Fran’s defense.

Even though it didn’t transfer to wins, the 49ers had a very productive offseason in 2007 and did so again this year. With the additions of Nate Clements, Michael Lewis, Tully Banta-Cain, Justin Smith, Takeo Spikes and DROY Patrick Willis (photo), San Fran has vastly improved its defense over the past two offseasons.

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