There aren't many great linebackers available in the 2011 NFL free agent class, so it figures that some of their signings come last. Free agent linebacker Manny Lawson is one of those leaving first. Lawson is departing the Bay Area, and is heading toward the Cincinnati Bengals on a one year deal worth $3 million, reports Pro Football Talk.
Lawson can play outside linebacker, which should make him useful for Cincinnati--with young players like Dan Skuta, Dontay Moch and Vincent Rey being considered at the Sam linebacker, Lawson should likely be inserted right in as the de facto starter next season. The one year deal seems to indicate this is only a test run.
The drafting of Aldon Smith also signalled the end of Lawson's long-term future with the Niners. Smith should come in and take Lawson's place, although it might take him time to replicate his pass-rush and run stopping abilities.