Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to sign linebacker Malcolm Smith when free agency officially begins Thursday, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports, citing sources.

An early spending spree continues with the addition of a veteran who should compete for starting snaps as San Francisco makes the transition to a 4-3 defense.

The USC product is a logical fit given his ties to new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who served as an assistant on the Seattle Seahawks’ staff for three seasons from 2011-13.

Smith spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Seahawks before playing the last two with the Oakland Raiders.

He’s best known for his performance in helping Seattle to a Super Bowl XLVII victory over the Denver Broncos, where he earned MVP honors after recording an interception returned for a touchdown.

Starting in 14 of his 15 appearances this past season, Smith led the Raiders’ defense with 103 tackles.

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