John Lynch On 49ers’ D-Line Additions

The 49ers have been busy at a number of positions this offseason, and the team’s defensive line in particular has undergone a number of changes. The unit will look much different in 2024 as the team attempts to rebound from last year’s Super Bowl defeat.

San Francisco saw Arik Armstead left in free agency following his release. That, in turn, came after attempts at keeping him in place were rejected, paving the way for a lucrative Jaguars deal. Trade deadline acquisition Chase Young also departed on the open market, inking a one-year pact with the Saints.

The former was replaced in large part by the trade for Maliek Collins; the ex-Texan is under contract through 2025 at a lower cost than what Armstead would have required. Just like Collins, the 49ers’ main edge acquisitions – Leonard Floyd and Yetur Gross-Matos – are on the books for two more years. When speaking about that approach, general manager John Lynch noted the organizational effort to deviate from the standard one-year free agent strategy.

“We wanted some stability,” Lynch said of the team’s defensive line during the 49ers’ State of the Franchise (video link). “So you go find a Leonard Floyd, an established vet, a presence on the opposite side of Bosa, a Yetur Gross-Matos, who was really a guy out there that we really got a consensus and felt great about him, and being able to add a guy like that for two years.

“And you’re always looking at the draft, and the draft, where we were picking, and then just the quality of the class, the D-line wasn’t great. So I think we started there in free agency, added some other things.”

Floyd inked a $20MM deal including $12MM in guarantees. The 31-year-old has proven to be a consistent producer along the edge over each of the past four years, posting 39.5 sacks during that span. He and Gross-Matos – who chose San Francisco amongst other bidders, inking an $18MM pact – should combine to form a suitable complement to Nick Bosa. The latter, alongside 2023 signee Javon Hargrave, will remain a key figure along the defensive front.

The 49ers also brought in former Browns starter Jordan Elliott. He, too is under contract through 2025 on his new team. San Francisco ranked third in the league against the run and sixth in sacks last season, so the team’s newcomers along the D-line will face considerable expectations in 2024. Regardless of how successful the revamped unit is, many of its core members will be in place over at least the intermediate term.

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