The past few days have been quite the stretch for San Francisco 49ers defensive end Cassius Marsh. He recently chatted with 49ers beat writer Eric Branch about his time with the New England Patriots and being miscast as a coverage linebacker.
During that conversation, he told Branch, “Hopefully I’ll be a Niner forever.” I wouldn’t expect him to go negative after signing a two-year contract extension, but he feels considerably more comfortable in his pass rushing role with the 49ers.
Marsh’s two-year deal was not exactly a huge commitment to his future, but the 49ers clearly liked what he showed and think he can built on it. He received a $2 million roster bonus a month after signing, and a fully guaranteed $1.1 million base salary this season. Again, not a long-term commitment, but a sign the team thinks there is something there.
The 49ers were not aggressive this offseason when it came to addressing the pass rush. They signed Jeremiah Attaochu, but also chose not to pick up Elvis Dumervil’s fifth year option. Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas will swap end spots in the base defense, but otherwise, it’s a lot of the same from last year.
All of this is to say, 2018 presents Marsh with a huge opportunity. He will compete with Attaochu, Eli Harold, Pita Taumoepenu, Ronald Blair, and others for work on the outside. Marsh had two sacks and got pressure on 11.9 percent of pass rushes during his six games with the 49ers. I do not expect to see Marsh develop into an every-down presence, but a situational pass rusher can make a lot of money in this league. Sacks alone do not determine the worth of a pass rusher, but maybe Marsh can get up closer to double digits with a full season in this defense.
Marsh wants to be a Niner forever. This season presents a huge opportunity for him to prove he is worth hanging on to for the long haul.