Today we’ve gone over what the San Francisco 49ers depth chart might look like, and the possibility of an undrafted free agent making the team. Now it’s time to talk about potential cuts. With the free agency window all but closed and the NFL draft over with, teams around the league know that acquiring a marquee player will be tough to come by. Unless there are surprise cuts. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell went through each team and listed his choice for who the surprise cut/trade would be. The 49ers choice was obvious.
The 49ers have moved Armstead around the lineup and eventually settled on using him as a rush-stopping defensive end last season, which is a position teams generally fill relatively cheaply. San Francisco reloaded on the edge by trading for Dee Ford and drafting Nick Bosa with the second pick, and both of those guys will start at defensive end as the 49ers begin to show more wide-nine looks from their ends next season. Armstead is set to make $9 million in the fifth-year option of his rookie deal, which is a lot to pay for a guy who would be playing 30 to 40 percent of the defensive snaps in 2019.
The rumor mill said that Armstead was on the block during the NFL Draft. No deal was made. Paying a player $9 million to sit on the bench for the majority of the game doesn’t make much sense. Armstead illustrates a good example of how little value stopping the run has in today’s NFL. He is a very good run defender. NFL teams take risks on players all the time. They league wasn’t too interested in investing in a 25-year old defensive lineman that hasn’t been able to consistently get after the QB. That’s why Barnwell picked Armstead.
Looking at other potential surprise cuts. Marquise Goodwin, when you look at his contract, doesn’t make much sense to get rid of. The 49ers aren’t exactly struggling for cap space. The more you poke around, there aren’t too many, if any, “bad” contracts on the roster. Armstead is the only one that fits the bill if the 49ers were to make a move like this.