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Niners add Brandon Jacobs, but does he fit?

Brandon Jacobs isn't the guy you remember from 2005 to 2008. That Brandon Jacobs scared defenders. He ran you over. He always ran hard.

The Brandon Jacobs from the last few years in New York was rather different. He was surly, unpredictable, and too often ran outside the numbers to coach Tom Coughlin's exasperation. Like many running backs as they approach 30 years old, Jacobs didn't run with the same consistent passion as he did early in his career.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported Wednesday that Jacobs agreed to terms with the 49ers on a one-year deal. We're having a hard time figuring out why. Jacobs still can be effective in small doses, but it's anyone's guess when those doses will come. Coughlin said Wednesday he was open to bringing Jacobs back to New York, where there was a clearer path to playing time.

The 49ers have a terrific, well-rounded starting running back in Frank Gore. They have an explosive, exciting backup in Kendall Hunter who needs to see the field more. Signing Jacobs shows the 49ers have no faith in third-stringer Anthony Dixon, but this still is an odd move.

Jacobs is only the third-best running back on the 49ers. He won't play special teams. He's just insurance for Gore, and Jacobs is being paid like it. The New York Daily News reports Jacobs received less than $2 million in base salary. That's average backup money.

Perhaps Jacobs will have a better attitude with a fresh start on the West Coast. It's unlikely that he'll turn back the clock and run like the old Brandon Jacobs, though. That probably won't happen to a running back who will turn 30 before the start of next season.

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