49ers trade starting OLB Eli Harold to Lions for draft pick


Update (10:05 a.m.): The 49ers officially have traded Eli Harold to the Lions, the team announced.


SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers have agreed to trade starting outside linebacker Eli Harold to the Detroit Lions, a league source confirmed Thursday morning to NBC Sports Bay Area.

The 49ers receive a conditional seventh-round draft pick in return from the Lions, Michigan Live was first to report. Harold, a third-round selection in the 2015 draft, has one year remaining on his rookie contract.

Harold started 24 games in the past two seasons, and he appeared in all 48 games during his three-year stint with the 49ers. Harold ranked 11th on the 49ers last season with 34 tackles. He also recorded two quarterback sacks.

But it is likely the 49ers viewed some other players currently on their 90-man roster as better fits for coordinator Robert Saleh’s defensive scheme. Dekoda Watson, Mark Nzeocha and Pita Taumoepenu line up at the outside linebacker spot.

The decision to trade Harold also could be a signal of a larger role for 49ers rookie linebacker Fred Warner, a third-round draft pick from BYU. Warner is an inside linebacker, and he could have a situational role on the outside to use his coverage skills.

Harold was one of the first 49ers players to kneel in protest of social injustice during the national anthem two seasons ago.

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