The San Francisco 49ers announced the signing of defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Saturday, and he will chat with the media at 11:30 a.m. PT. In the meantime, general manager John Lynch released a statement with the team’s press release.
"As soon as Earl hit the open market, he became a priority for us to sign. A man of high character, he represents everything we want to be as a football team. Earl is a tone-setter who plays the game with a tremendous passion and the effort necessary to win in this league. We believe those qualities are contagious and will help to make our team stronger. We look forward to the impact Earl will have on the field, in the locker room and in our community.”
The 49ers have signed Mitchell to play defensive tackle in their base defense and provide help against the run. The Leo defensive end will play to one side of him in the base defense, and it is likely that DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead will play to the other side.
The 49ers had a historically bad run defense in 2016. Injuries played into it, but so did just lacking consistent talent. Mitchell has been up and down throughout his career, thus his release by the Dolphins. But he brings some veteran leadership, and Lynch is hoping tone-setting in the physicality of their run defense.