With Aldon Smith out indefinitely, the San Francisco 49ers made a move to add to their front seven by landing free-agent Jermaine Cunningham.
Cunningham, a former second-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2010, never quite panned out under Bill Belichick and was among final cuts in training camp. He started at left outside linebacker his rookie season while the team ran a 3-4, but struggled to adjust to defensive end the next year when New England employed a 4-3.
The NFL suspended Cunningham for four games last November for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. He joins Eric Wright as the second player San Francisco has signed in as many months that was suspended for PEDs in 2012. The Boston Globe reported Cunningham was suspended for Adderall, the same drug Wright admitted to using in a statement.
The suspension cost the Florida alum $127,058 in salary. He had 2.5 sacks and 16 tackles while rotating along the Patriots defensive front in 2012.
The 49ers also announced they waived rookie quarterback B.J. Daniels and fullback Owen Marecic, who the team added as a free agent Sept. 17.
After waiving two players, they will be looking to sign one more. The Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday the team was interested in signing former Cardinals signal caller John Skelton, according to multiple sources, to replace Daniels on the 53-man roster.
The Bee also reported San Francisco is hoping Daniels clears waivers so he can be added to the practice squad. But he played well in the preseason, completing 13 of 21 passes for 178 yards and three scores while also rushing for 87 yards.
On a conference call prior to Week 2's game in Seattle, Pete Carroll indicated the Seahawks were very interested in Daniels, but the 49ers ultimately selected him seventh round.
Skelton, 25, made 17 starts for the Cardinals since getting drafted in the fifth round in 2010. He completed 53.2 percent of his passes for 3,707 yards and 15 touchdowns. He owns a career passer rating of 63.0 and was released by the Bengals following training camp in favor of former 49er Josh Johnson.
San Francisco added Cunningham after its most dominating performance of the season last Thursday, when they held the Rams to just 11 points and 188 net yards. They sacked Sam Bradford five times.
In Smith's stead, Corey Lemonier (43 snaps, 64 percent) and Dan Skuta (32 snaps, 48 percent) shared time at outside linebacker opposite Ahmad Brooks. Lemonier had easily his best game as a pro after being drafted in the third round in this year's draft. He had three tackles, two QB hurries and a hit, according to Pro Football Focus. Skuta had three QB hurries.
*Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used in this report*
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