Brad Barr / USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have made the first big free-agent splash of the NFL offseason, signing defensive tackle Earl Mitchell to a four-year deal worth $16 million, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports.

Released by the Miami Dolphins last week in a cost-cutting move, Mitchell is an underrated interior lineman whose time in Miami was marred by injuries.

It’s the first big signing of John Lynch’s tenure in San Francisco, and it didn’t necessarily come easy. Both the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks showed interest in the 29-year-old Mitchell.

The 49ers are converting to a 4-3 defensive front and lacked interior pass-rushers. Mitchell fits the mold and will get paid a reported $5.5 million in his first season with the team to do it.

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