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Eric Reid: No 49ers promise for '18 after switch to LB

The San Francisco 49ers are indeed planning to keep Eric Reid at linebacker for the rest of the season, but the assurances might end there.

Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh told reporters Thursday that San Francisco has moved Reid from strong safety to weakside linebacker after he played 48 snaps at linebacker in Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The change came after Reid returned from a knee injury that sidelined him three games.

"There's no doubt in my mind, if the league thinks he was a really good safety, just wait until you see his versatility and what he can do as a linebacker," Saleh said, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. "He's going to be unbelievable."

Reid might have to play at an "unbelievable" level if he wants to ensure he'll remain with the 49ers after this season. The fifth-year veteran asked general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan if the move to linebacker would guarantee him Bay Area employment in 2018.

"I asked them explicitly, 'Can you at least tell me if I'm going to be here next year to play this position?'" Reid said. "They told me 'no.' ... Right now, I just trust that the film I have at safety is good enough for me to enter free agency with. And just get some film at linebacker, as well."

It appears the 49ers value Reid's speed and versatility, but they also might see the former first-round draft pick as an expendable asset with Jaquiski Tartt now patrolling the secondary.

Saleh is talking up the move, adding "he wouldn't be surprised" if Reid took over inside linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong's starting job. For now, the challenges center upon learning the intricacies of the position and possibly bulking up his 215-pound frame.

"I had some questions at first about it, but now I think I'm really embracing it," Reid said. "I've been at the position for a week and I think I'm starting to pick it up. There's a lot to learn."

Whether he'll be playing at linebacker in 2018 -- and with the 49ers -- remains to be seen.

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