The 49ers are making a free agency splash well before March 9: The club has agreed to a four-year, $16MM deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). The team announced the signing of the veteran lineman Saturday.
Mitchell, who will enter his age-30 season in 2017, came available when the Dolphins released him last week. The 49ers were among several teams to show interest in Mitchell, who also visited with the Seahawks, Broncos and Falcons. Mitchell would have made $4MM next season had the Dolphins retained him, but he’ll now rake in $5.5MM as a Niner, per Garafolo.
A seven-year veteran who went in the third round of the 2010 draft, Mitchell divided his career between Houston and Miami before reaching a deal with the 49ers. He has collected 100 appearances, 38 starts and 5.5 sacks to this point, and is coming off a season in which he only played nine games on account of a calf injury.
In his previous trip to free agency, in 2014, Mitchell landed a richer deal – four years and $19MM – though he did it as an in-his-prime player fresh off a 14-start season. While the full details of his new pact aren’t yet known, Mitchell has landed an impressive payday in the wake of both an injury-shortened season and a release. He’ll now join a 49ers defense that finished last season 28th in DVOA and will attempt to turn things around under new coordinator Robert Saleh.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.