After a good season with the San Francisco 49ers, Gerald Hodges expected to be out of the free agency market a little bit sooner. But here we are, in May, with the 26-year old still meeting with teams. He previously visited with the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs, and now the New York Jets are on the clock.
Hodgers, a 4th round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2013, made $1.6 million for the Niners last season, playing in 15 games (12 starts). He finished with 2 interceptions, 3 sacks and 80 tackles, mostly playing as one of the inside linebackers in the 3-4 defense. He was an on again, off again starter for Minnesota and San Francisco in previous seasons, joining the Niners in 2015 via trade.
The Jets aren’t exactly in dire need for linebackers: They picked Dylan Donahue in the fifth round out of West Georgia, but he’s an outside linebacker. David Harris and Darron Lee are likely to be the inside linebackers, and Bruce Carter is next on the depth chart to come off the bench. Hodges is good enough to compete with them for playing time, and with Randall Johnson for a spot on the final 53-man roster. Hodges is a New Jersey native, so there’s that kind of connection to the Jets besides their possible need for more depth at middle linebacker.
So for his Chiefs and Seahawks meetings, those were before the draft. Right now it doesn’t look like both Seattle nor Kansas City have an urge to add a linebacker out of free agency right now. If Hodges is available a bit further down the line, probably come summer when teams know a bit better what they need and what they want, they’re hoping he’ll still be available for a relatively cheap price.
Hodges isn’t the only former Niner that’s still looking for a team at this late stage: Rod Streater and the quarterback trio of Colin Kaepernick Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert are all looking for a team to sign them as well. Hodges could end up going back to the Niners, but that front has been relatively quiet so far.