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NFL free agency 2017: Where have all of the outside pass rushers gone

The San Francisco 49ers will have a host of cap space to spend on free agents this offseason. We are going to break down five notable positions.

I have spent a month and a half going over possible NFL free agents team by team. Now, we move on the positional breakdowns. I started with quarterbacks and wide receivers, and today I’m moving on to edge rushers. The 49ers have a variety of needs, but I am going to focus in on some of the more pertinent ones.

The 49ers could really use a good outside pass rusher. Neither Tank Carradine nor Eli Harold could get the job done last season, and Aaron Lynch was either suspended, overweight and out of shape, or injured for most of the season and did not look good when he did play. I personally think it was because Lynch was asked to play right outside linebacker and he was use to playing left outside linebacker in the past. That leads me to wonder if Lynch would be better off playing strong outside linebacker rather than right defensive end?

The number of premium free agents available has suddenly diminished after Chandler Jones, Jason Pierre-Paul and Melvin Ingram were franchised earlier this week. We may be down to praying Myles Garrett is there at number two. I tried to include any player that might even mildly be able to play the position. All heights and weights are taken from NFL.com.

34 OLB Nick Perry - $4,875,000 – Packers

Nick Perry is 26 years old and was drafted by the Packers in the first round of the 2012 draft. Last year was by far Nick Perry’s best season with 52 tackles, 11 sacks, four passes defended and one interception. Perry is on a one year contract after the Packers declined to pick up his fifth year option. He is 6’3 and weighs 265 pounds.

34 OLB Erik Walden - $4,250,000 - Colts

Erik Walden is 31 years old and was originally drafted by the Cowboys in the sixth round of the 2008 draft. Walden seemed to have his usual amount of tackles (42) in 2016 but his sack count skyrocketed to 11. The closest he had ever come to that number was when he had six sacks in 2014. Most years he has three or less. He is 6’2 weighs 250 pounds.

43 DE Mario Addison - $1,620,000 – Signed

Mario Addison is 29 years old and was originally picked up by the Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2011. Addison had 27 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in 2016. He is 6’3 and weighs 260.

43 DE Andre Branch - $2,703,125 - Dolphins

Andre Branch is 27 years old and was originally drafted by the Jaguars in the second round of the 2011 draft. Branch signed a one year deal with the Dolphins after having 91 tackles, 14 sacks, 11 passes defended and five forced fumbles in his first four years with the Jags. He had 49 tackles, five point five sacks and two forced fumbles in 2016. He is 6’5” and weighs 263 pounds.

43 DE Devin Taylor - $750,146 - Lions

Devin Taylor is 27 years old and was drafted by the Lions in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. Taylor has 28 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one pass defended and one forced fumble in 2016. He is 6’7” and weighs 275.

34 OLB Alex Okafor – 1,789,607 - Cardinals

Alex Okafor is 25 years old and was drafted by the Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. Okafor has only 13 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2016. Not bad numbers for a guy that only played 231 downs. He is 6’4 and weighs 261 pounds.

34O LB John Simon - $1,671,000 - Texans

John Simon is 26 years old and was originally drafted by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. Simon had 51 tackles, three point five sacks and one forced fumble in 2016.. Pro Football Focus had him listed as the 39th best edge rusher. He is 6’1 and weighs 260 pounds.