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Why did the 49ers not pick up Elvis Dumervil’s option?

The 49ers gave up a productive pass rusher.

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Pro Football Focus recently ranked pass rush units across the league, and they dropped the 49ers in at No. 19. They like the potential of the group, but recognize the many questions facing them.

It was fitting timing on the rankings, because of a mention a couple days earlier in this piece on the team and player leaders in pass rush productivity. Sacks are important, but they are not the only measurement of a quality pass rusher. PRP looks at sacks, hits, and hurries compared to total pass rush snaps to figure out who the most productive pass rushers really are.

DeMarcus Lawrence led edge defenders with at least 150 pass rush snaps in PRP. Immediately behind him was Elvis Dumervil. In just under 300 pass rush snaps, Dumervil led the 49ers with 6.5 sacks, and had 57 total pressures.

A year ago, the 49ers signed Dumervil to a one-year contract with a team option for 2018. Last season, Dumervil earned $2,250,000 in base salary, with $750,000 in game-day roster bonus money. His 2018 option would have earned him a $2,750,000 base salary and $750,000 in game-day roster bonus money. That’s a $500,000 raise.

Dumervil remains unsigned, but given his experience, one would think he would be signed sometime in the next couple weeks. Teams are always looking to get younger, but a team in contention for the Super Bowl, or at least in contention for a playoff berth would seem to have use of a situational pass rusher.

Any thoughts as to why the 49ers did not pick up Dumervil’s option?

My initial thought was that they want to see what this younger group can do, and they are particularly intrigued by Cassius Marsh and Jeremiah Attaochu. The 49ers claimed Marsh off waivers in November, and then signed him to a contract extension in February. In March, they signed Attaochu in veteran free agency. With no other notable additions, this would suggest they have high hopes for them coupled Pita Taumoepenu and the various defensive tackles.

Or maybe if the group is slow out of the gates, Dumervil gets a call to re-join the team. I have to think he ends up signing somewhere at some point this year, but given how the league handles older players, I’m not really sure what to expect.