Earl Mitchell plans to sign 4-year deal with 49ers

The 49ers' Houston connection helped sway free-agent defensive lineman Earl Mitchell to sign with San Francisco instead of the three other teams that heavily pursued him last week.

New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) tries to avoid Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (90) during a game in December.

The deal with Mitchell marks the first big contract the 49ers have handed out since hiring John Lynch as their general manager on January 30.

The veteran will make $5.5 million during his first year with the 49ers, which is actually a raise over the $4 million he would've made in Miami if that Dolphins hadn't cut him on February 16.

"I'm not one of those types of guys who looks into the past", Mitchell said. "And I'm looking forward to getting over the hump, I guess you could say". "When it comes to thinking like that, that's not the way to think".


He played in just nine games last season as he was placed on injured reserve after Week 1 with a calf injury and then activated on November 10 when the Dolphins used their designated to return spot on him.

"As soon as Earl hit the open market, he became a priority for us to sign", Lynch said in a statement. Earl is a tone setter who plays the game with a tremendous passion and the effort necessary to win in this league.

Mitchell was at third round pick (No. 81) by the Houston Texans in the 2010 National Football League draft.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com points out that the 49ers under new G.M. John Lynch already have spent more in free agency than G.M. Trent Baalke did a year ago. In his final season with the Texans, Mitchell played under new 49ers defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina. He then signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Dolphins but got released with one year remaining on the contract.

"I was able to finish the season strong, which was important for me", he said. He has also played in five career postseason games where he registered 13 tackles and 1.0 sack.

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