Players often bristle at the notion of the franchise tag, but defensive lineman Arik Armstead isn’t necessarily opposed to it. The former-first round pick says he’s intent on staying with the 49ers and his comments suggest that he wouldn’t hold out if he’s tagged.
“I would love being here,” Armstead said (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com) “Trying to go back to the Super Bowl, so however that is seen or has to get done, it’s not really my decision what they want to do with me.”
Armstead didn’t really produce early on in his career and injuries robbed him of 18 games between 2016 and 2017. In his first four seasons, Armstead tallied just nine sacks in total, but everything clicked for him in 2019. The Oregon product notched ten sacks in his walk year and bottled up opposing running backs with equal glee. The Niners’ attack featuring Armstead, Nick Bosa, and Dee Ford was the most ferocious in the NFL, and San Francisco would do well to keep the core in tact.
Still, the Niners will have to keep their budget in mind. Armstead played more snaps at defensive end than defensive tackle in 2019, meaning that his franchise tag will cost around $19.3MM, instead of $15.5MM. A long-term deal could make sense for both sides, but the Niners have to leave enough room to extend key players like DeForest Buckner and George Kittle.
Speaking of Kittle – it’s expected that he’ll land at least $13MM/year on a new contract. That would make him the highest-paid tight end in the league by a healthy margin and slot him far ahead of Super Bowl foe Travis Kelce.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.