The San Francisco 49ers edge rushers had a big day on Sunday, grading out among the highest on PFF’s scale for the game. The 49ers pass rush was a question coming into the season, and it has been somewhat inconsistent at times. Sunday’s performance was the best we’ve seen thus far, and offers some hope for the season.
Earlier in the weekend, the New England Patriots released edge rusher Kony Ealy. The Patriots acquired him earlier this offseason in a deal that sent their second round pick to the Carolina Panthers for Ealy and a third round pick. Things did not work out for what was essentially a flyer on a talented but inconsistent performer.
On Sunday, we learned that the New York Jets claimed Ealy off waivers. Later in the day, Buffalo News’ reporter Kimberley Martin reported that seven teams, including the Jets placed a waiver claim on Ealy. They included the Arizona Cardinals, Washington, Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants.
We already knew the 49ers had not placed a claim because they would have gotten him over the Jets. The 49ers hold the No. 2 waiver prior heading into the season, as it is currently based on draft order. That will be particularly critical later this weekend when roster cuts happen.
Given some of the buzz words surrounding Ealy, it’s not entirely surprising the 49ers did not make a waiver play for him. He’s talented but inconsistent, and given the talent they have competing for edge work, they did not see him as a guy who could improve the team.