The 49ers will continue to deploy their tandem of Oregon-developed defensive linemen for the foreseeable future, ensuring Arik Armstead will be under team control through 2019 alongside DeForest Buckner.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets the 49ers plan to exercise Armstead’s fifth-year option. The No. 17 selection in the 2015 draft, Armstead has played both defensive tackle and defensive end in his career. And this could make his option amount yet to be determined.
He lined up at end last season in Robert Saleh‘s 4-3, and if that’s his determined position, the 49ers will be tagged with a $9.046MM salary in 2019. However, if he is deemed a defensive tackle, Armstead’s option season will come in at $7.154MM. Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle expects (Twitter link) Armstead will earn more than $9MM as an end in 2019, if he’s still on the roster by then.
These options are guaranteed for injury only, so the 49ers could move on from their 2015 first-rounder if they choose. He’d have to be able to pass a physical by the start of the 2019 league year, however, and Armstead has seen injuries cloud his career. The 49ers placed Armstead on IR midway through last season, and he played in just eight games in 2016. Armstead may have to show he can stay healthy this coming season for the 49ers to keep him. Of course, if another injury occurs, and one severe enough to shelve him into March of ’19, they’ll have no choice regardless of his production this season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.