Clelin Ferrell‘s time with the Raiders did not go according to plan, but he will now have an opportunity to rebuild some of his value in a new home. The defensive end is signing a one-year deal with the 49ers, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).
The Raiders raised eyebrows when they drafted Ferrell fourth overall in 2019. That decision upped expectations for the Clemson product, who profiled as a solid contributor at the NFL level, but not the focal point of a team’s edge rush group. He operated as a full-time starter for the first two years of his career, but totaled just 6.5 sacks across that span.
A dramatic drop in playing time followed, as fellow 2019 draftee Maxx Crosby established himself as the team’s top performer in the pass rush department. Ferrell saw his snap share fall to 24% that year, leaving his future with the team very much in doubt. He, like the Raiders’ other first-rounders from the 2019 class, had his fifth-year option declined in a move which came as little surprise.
The 25-year-old’s roster spot was thought to be in jeopardy during training camp, given the arrival of a new coaching and defensive staff, along with his struggles early in his career. He did manage to remain on the 53-man roster, though his name was included in trade talk in the build-up to this year’s deadline. In 2022, Ferrell played in a rotational role, recording a pair of sacks and drawing a middling review in terms of PFF grade.
In San Francisco, he will have the chance to play alongside a number of highly-regarded d-linemen. The 49ers have already added Javon Hargrave to their defensive interior, and have Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead available as productive veterans up front. The team is set to lose Charles Omenihu to the Chiefs, so Ferrell could step into his place as a young option aiming to serve in a rotational capacity and play his way into a more substantial deal next year.