Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
As you well know, this is a fan website. And, as a big fan of Tank Carradine since his days at Florida State, there have been countless articles written on Niners Nation and a lot from me personally. You can check out my articles here, here, and here. And, each one is awaiting the potential of a breakout season. Well, to say the least, it has led to some disappointment.
For the newer members of Niners Nation, who do not know me, my former practice was representing injured athletes and Fooch asked me in 2013 to cover the injury aspects due to my experience. And, fans have been curious about Tank Carradine and his injury since he was drafted at 40 in the second-round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Everyone, including myself, thought it was a steal of a pick by Trent Baalke. Um, we could have been mistaken?
Moving on, we have seen little to nothing from Carradine. Besides a series of games in 2014 (that comes to mind), in which he had three sacks in three games, there has been nothing of significance. Nothing. So, if you are asking me, Carradine is in a make-or-break situation this year.
Experience: 3 accrued seasons
Weight: 295 lbs
The San Francisco 49ers signed Tank Carradine to a one-year contract extension in September of last year, locking him up through the 2017 season. His 2016 base became fully guaranteed with the deal, and the deal totaled $2,650,000. He can earn an additional $1 million in incentives for sacks. His signing bonus was $1,250,000 in 2016, with a 2017 base of $1,100,00 ($1,000,000 guaranteed for injury; fully guaranteed on April 1, 2017). He will also earn $250,000 if he is on the roster weekly, which will be paid over the season. Additionally, he earned a $50,000 workout bonus for his participation in the offseason workout program.
Interestingly, he has an NLTBE incentive of $1,000,000 for sacks. While many searches on my end came up empty, it is of curiosity what the $1 million for sacks entails. It seems a bit ambiguous. His 2017 cap hit is $1,978,125, according to Jason Hurley of Niners Nation. Ask Jason?
Why he might improve in 2017
Carradine never quite fit in San Francisco’s 3-4 base scheme. It was thought the 6-foot-4, 270-lb-something linemen could gain weight (and he did) to become a menace in the 3-4 defensive end position. Yet, nothing ever really materialized. The 49ers then had him lose weight to move to more of their bigger outside linebacker/nickel edge role. They gave him a contract extension prior to the 2016 season amidst hopes that move would take.
In college, Carradine was a formidable 4-3 defensive end rather than a 3-4 outside linebacker. More of an edge DE, Carradine has never been good stopping the run in the NFL. Rushing the quarterback was his specialty. And, because San Francisco needs help everywhere, they can certainly use the college version of Carradine.
The 49ers are switching to a 4-3 defense this season, which could allow Carradine an opportunity. He excelled at Florida State in the 4-3. His numbers were outrageous. Defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh hopefully will have an opportunity to use Carradine’s pass rushing abilities, especially with DeForest Buckner to Carradine’s left to open holes to get into the pocket. And, get sacks. Can you imagine? The new defensive scheme could be beneficial in several ways, but certainly are more comfortable and familiar to a player like Carradine. Not to get anyone’s hopes up, but this could be interesting. I suspect, once a fan, always a fan.
Why he might regress in 2017
Carradine has not been very good in the NFL. He has been given much leeway due to injury and while understandable, his play has been somewhat
unforgettable and at times, frustrating. He has never seemed like a real threat out on the field and despite our fandom, we have very little to go on besides his college acumen.
And, let’s face it, with the 49ers drafting Arik Armstead and having Aaron Lynch on the squad, it seems pretty unlikely he will be used in a formidable way. Carradine has an uphill battle, especially with guys on the roster who are hungry and ready to assume any role he could potentially have.
Odds of making the roster
Although Carradine received a decent contract last year, the new regime may have other ideas. Odds of making the 49ers depends on many factors. While San Francisco may find a unique position for Carradine, or perhaps a rotational duty, it is somewhat up to him if he finds a real role on the 49ers. But, here’s to hoping the 49ers find a way to use him!