Larry Grant - First string talent, second string role

May 31, 2012 at 10:07 PM


When the offseason arrived, it was a foregone certainty that the 49ers would have to forfeit a few pieces of their championship-caliber team, especially on defense. Everyone figured either Carlos Rogers, Dashon Goldson, Ahmad Brooks, or two of those three would be gone.

Here the team stands on the precipice of training camp for the 2012 season and it not only retained all three (so long as Goldson shows up at some point - which he will) , they also held onto/bolstered their depth.

One of the most unsung retentions was that of Larry Grant. Oddly enough, it was the one the 49ers put the least amount of effort into. After doing a remarkable job filling in for Patrick Willis in 2011 (29 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, and five passes defensed in three-plus games), Grant's value was placed at a 7th round tender.

Amazingly enough, Grant drew no attention on the market as a restricted free agent, landing him back in San Francisco for a little over a million dollars.

Although the situation is not ideal for Grant, it's almost surreal for the 49ers. They bring back an extremely talented inside linebacker at a reasonable price who can make that defense operate without a hitch if the situation calls for it (hopefully not the case). How well Grant played when called upon last year cannot be overstated. The Pittsburgh and Seattle games are especially noteworthy: 4 passes defensed in the former, a game-winning forced fumble in the latter.

How this man didn't garner interest from other teams is mind-boggling, but the fans and the organization will take that any day of the week. Much like locking up Andy Lee and signing back Ted Ginn at the right price, the return of Larry Grant is one of the several overlooked, underappreciated, ever-important moves of the offseason.



Resources: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/31/SP2H1OQ87U.DTL#ixzz1wVu2TSzY
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


9 Comments

  • biggest9ersfanEver
    Grant is a great football player,better pass defender than bowman we have to find a way to get him on the field more,hes a starter on most any team in the nfl,harbaugh see if he can play olb and rotate as often as possible he wont disapoint
    Aug 2, 2012 at 3:45 PM
    0
    Response: Yes, I wonder the same thing but don't know if they'll move him outside. Either way it's nice to have him when he does see the field and he's a big-time special teams contributor.
  • SF49rzFreek
    I think Grant is as good as anybody we have on the roster at the LB Position (Willis notwithstanding) Get him in and let him play.
    Jul 30, 2012 at 12:16 AM
    0
  • Logan Adler
    It's kind or a mood point.....P.Willis and G. Bowman make for the most ruthless Lb combo in the league....you add another solid back-up back like Grant, now you have the ability to rest your starters for a series here and there. So what you end up is, having two of the most dangerous and productive LB's in the league with a relief that is dependable.
    Jul 1, 2012 at 7:45 AM
    0
  • Mason
    I don't see him as a starter... I see him as a decent backup. I mean, there's a reason he sits instead of Bowman. Remember, we gave up that first rushing TD when Grant was in...
    Jun 24, 2012 at 10:53 PM
    0
    Response: To each his own. Bowman is clearly the more talented LB, but that doesn't mean that Grant isn't very good. About 80% or 90% of the linebackers in this league would sit behind Bowman. He had a stronger season than Willis did last year. As for giving up the rushing TD, it was going to happen at some point. They gave up a couple more against the Rams when Willis was in, so I don't see how the streak's demise was solely due to Grant.
  • Niner
    Why so complicated . He did good with a very good d along side a pro bowler. He got cut by a mediocre Rams team. What does that say? He like Smith are only good when everyone else is. Not a lot of demand for guys who r a dime a dozen. Think Willis or gore became Fa they wouldnt have offers galore ? Good players play good on bad teams ( Justin smith, gore, willis, etc...) great players make those around them better. ( Montana 81, in kc vs 49 ers, farve, Warner, etc...)
    Jun 13, 2012 at 7:38 AM
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    Response: I don't think you can point tot he fact that he got cut by the Rams as an indicator that he's not any good. If the Rams were a powerhouse of talent and a team that had incredible scouting, then I'd take that point as valid. But they have whiffed on plenty a draft pick and do not have the strongest talent evaluators. Plus, Grant wasn't the same player then that he is now. That's evident. Grant made specific plays that had little to do with those playing around him (see Pittsburgh for batted-down passes, strip-fumble vs. Seattle). I'm not saying Grant is a phenom, but I think he's starter-worthy on other teams and if he has to see the field again this year, I expect him to prove it and build upon last year's solid performance.
  • AKfanster
    Kinda makes u wonder..........The guy does seem like he could be a starter on most teams, but nobody went after him.
    Jun 2, 2012 at 9:21 PM
    0
    Response: Very intriguing. I think the 49ers superb play as unit both inflates certain players' value while deflating others. I feel like Carlos Rogers would command more money than he's worth because of his role on the defense, while someone lesser known (like Grant) probably receives the viewpoint of "well, he played in that 49ers' defense, so he's a product of the system."
  • TheStrunzo
    I'd like to see Balke lock him up to a three contract/two year extension. Give him two year extension @ two million a year with some of it as a signing bonus and/or gureenteed. They way he played last year when called upon was almost like watching Willis twin brother. The Niners didn't miss a beat on defense and I dare say he played just as good as Willis had he been in those games. We need that extra inside LB so if it isn't Grant then we'd have fill that position with another player and who are we going to to find that is as good as Grant for relatively little money? Yes, we could have drafted another LB with a late round pick at around 600k/700k, but why not spend just a little more and lock down a player who has skills to be a starter on any team and who provides are defense with a valuable insurance policy? God forbid one of our two LBs goes down and we don't have a player with Grant's same abilities. MILB is such a corner stone position to our style of defense and the extra million a year we'd have to pay out to lock up Grant for the next few years seams like a bargain. I really hope Balke and Co. sees it the same way and tries secure Grant's services for the near future.
    Jun 2, 2012 at 8:21 AM
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    Response: A coworker brought up the idea of locking up Grant on the cheap now, so he can be the eventual successor to Bowman. Because as much as we'd all like to see Bowman and Willis together for a long time, the financial burden of keeping both makes it unlikely. So you lock up a very good ILB in Grant while his value is low and have him plug in once Bowman leaves.
  • Joe
    Maybe Baalke will talk the Raiders out of a 2nd round pick since Grant will be a FA next year and McClain is either getting cut or at least suspended and they ahve no one to replace him
    Jun 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM
    0
  • Bob Okimoto
    Larry has to be happy to perform at top level. Is Larry happy?
    May 31, 2012 at 11:40 PM
    0

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