Arik Armstead

NFC Notes: Rosen, Panthers, 49ers

Although Patrick Peterson expects Sam Bradford to start the season as the Cardinals‘ quarterback, what he saw early this offseason from Josh Rosen may make that a short-lived arrangement. Peterson said the first-round pick “blew my mind” with the football IQ he was known for challenging coaches with at UCLA.

Just to see him run hurry-up offense, to see him make all different checks, to see him put guys in position, I was completely stunned when I saw it,” Peterson said, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. “I was like, ‘This guy’s only been here a week, and he’s already doing what? We’re already running two-minute offense now?

I was very, very impressed with that, and he’s definitely the future of our franchise.”

While this praise tops Steve Wilks‘ a bit, it’s consistent with what the first-year Cards coach described about the No. 10 overall pick. Bradford has not been given the Cards’ starting job yet, and he’ll have to show the Cardinals — who slow-played his offseason work due to the major injury concerns attached to the former Heisman Trophy winner — he can stay healthy. An injury-free preseason will likely have Bradford at the controls come Week 1. But the Rosen era appears imminent.

Shifting to another rookie’s standing, here’s what’s new out of the NFC on Friday night.

  • Daryl Worley‘s release leaves the Panthers somewhat vulnerable at cornerback. That hasn’t been an uncertain spot since Josh Norman‘s departure, but David Newton of ESPN.com expects second-round pick Donte Jackson to emerge as the starter opposite James Bradberry. “You see it on the field. You see it when you talk to him,” Ron Rivera said regarding Jackson. “You watch in his gait, the way he carries himself. That’s the type of attitude you have to have to play this game. You have to have a certain kind of swagger.” Ross Cockrell, Kevon Seymour and perhaps slot man Captain Munnerlyn figure to factor into the Panthers’ competition here as well.
  • Speaking of Carolina competitions, Colin Jones has a good shot to start at safety despite his presence as a career special-teamer. The Panthers are counting on the 30-year-old Jones to play opposite 37-year-old Mike Adams, per Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today. Carolina, though, signed Da’Norris Searcy and drafted Rashaan Gaulden in the third round, so it would appear Jones may stand to be a stopgap solution. He played 213 defensive snaps last season but only has 13 starts in seven NFL seasons.
  • 49ers defensive ends Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas are switching positions, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, with the 2017 No. 3 overall pick moving to the “Leo” end spot reserved for the best outside pass rusher in San Francisco’s 4-3 scheme. Thomas played some at this position last season, but Armstead resided there at the outset of the 49ers’ most recent campaign. Armstead being a former defensive tackle makes him a more obvious fit as the “big” end, and the ex-Oregon product has put on weight this offseason to play that role. The 49ers still hope to have Thomas (three sacks as a rookie) shift inside at times on passing downs, though both would profile as players who could join DeForest Buckner inside in sub-packages.

49ers DL Arik Armstead Has Surgery

49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead is recovering from minor foot surgery, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The good news is that Rapoport’s source says teh procedure was a minor cleanup and he should be fine for most, if not all, of the spring drills. 

However, it’s a situation to keep an eye on as injuries have cut Armstead’s past two seasons short. In 2016, a shoulder injury cost him half of the season. Then, last year, he missed ten games after injuring his hand. He’s now dealing with some type of foot issue after the Niners exercised his $9.046MM option for the 2019 season, which is guaranteed for injury.

If Armstead misses time but heals up is able to pass a physical before the season starts, the Niners can still get out of their obligation for 2019. But, if he doesn’t get the green light from doctors, the 49ers will be forced to keep him at a salary of $9.046MM.

Armstead has played defensive tackle in the past, but last year he lined up at end in defensive coordinator Robert Saleh‘s 4-3 scheme. Had he been classified as a defensive tackle, his ’19 option would have been worth $7.154MM, about $1.9MM less than his scheduled rate.

Although the injuries have been frustrating, Armstead has been effective at creating pressure when on the field. Last year, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 44 ranked edge defender, which paints a more accurate picture of his performance than his total of 1.5 sacks. PFF’s ranking put him roughly in the same range as notables like Michael Bennett, Ezekiel Ansah, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Bruce irvin.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Exercise Armstead’s Fifth-Year Option

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.

NFC Notes: Reed, Redskins, Lions, 49ers

Just days after Terrelle Pryor was placed on season-ending injured reserve, the Redskins’ pass catchers received another blow on Wednesday. The team’s star tight end Jordan Reed was ruled out for the team’s Thanksgiving tilt with the Giants, according to Kimberly Martin of the Washington Post (Twitter link).

The oft-injured Reed, who was labeled as questionable by head coach Jay Gruden an hour before the announcement, will miss his sixth game of the year. Reed also missed four games in 2016 and two during his breakout 2015 season.

There are few better tight ends than Reed when he is on the field. Of the 11 players at his position to record 250 receptions since 2013, he is the only one to average at least five receptions per game. The team will once again turn to Vernon Davis in the division clash on Thursday night.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Though the 49ers will start C.J. Beathard again on Sunday, team general manager John Lynch is convinced Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be the team’s future starting quarterback writes Cam Inman of The Mercury News“We really, genuinely believe that this guy’s got the makings of a guy who could be our guy for years to come,” Lynch said. “That’s all got to come to fruition on the field.” 
  • Staying with San Francisco, Lynch also believes defensive end Arik Armstead has a bright future with the team despite missing 18 of 32 career games with an injury, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee“We think he’s a fit with what we are and who we are going forward,” Lynch said. Though he is a fit, Armstead will need to find a way to stay on the field to stay in the 49ers’ plans.
  • Matt Prater has been the Lions’ most valuable free agent signing in the last five seasons, writes ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. Though he has stiff competition from Golden Tate and Glover Quin, the veteran kicker is without a doubt in the mix for the honor.

NFC Rumors: Manning, Smith, Capers, 49ers

This week has been among the more grim Giants stretches in many years. Anonymous players came forward to criticize Ben McAdoo, and the statuses of the head coach and GM Jerry Reese aren’t exactly entrenched going into 2018. And the Giants are ready to look at the 2018 quarterback crop for a possible high first-round selection. Eli Manning, though, still looms as the team’s franchise passer with two full seasons remaining on his contract. While it doesn’t make much sense for a 36-year-old quarterback to be around for the kind of rebuild the Giants may want to embark upon, Manning would prefer to finish his career with one team, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes.

While Graziano mentions the Jaguars and Broncos as teams that would make sense as possible Manning suitors via trade, he writes the possibility of landing back on a contender — with these teams missing a quarterback to complement top-flight defenses — wouldn’t necessarily override Manning’s desire to play his entire career with New York. Manning having a no-trade clause makes his desires rather significant as the Giants begin plans for their future.

Here’s the latest from the NFC going into Week 10 Sunday.

  • While Ezekiel Elliott will be the most notable absence in Sunday’s Cowboys-Falcons game, Dallas will be without its cornerstone left tackle as well. Tyron Smith will miss Week 10 with back and groin injuries. The All-Pro blocker will not make the trip to Atlanta, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News reports (on Twitter). Chaz Green will start in Smith’s place. The seventh-year veteran had made all eight starts for the Cowboys this season.
  • 49ers defensive end Tank Carradine returned to practice this week, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports. The team planned to bring the injured defender back from IR, and it looks like that’s still the plan. Carradine can return as soon as Week 12 — a November 26 game against the Seahawks. Both Carradine and Arik Armstead are on IR, and it looks like the latter’s third NFL season will be over. “It’s a tough decision, but we feel Tank has got a good chance to at least be back for these last six games where we know Arik would have been only the last two,” Kyle Shanahan said. “We had to make a decision (Wednesday), so we’re going to go with Tank right now.” Fellow defensive lineman Ronald Blair took San Francisco’s first IR-return spot last week.
  • If this Packers slide results in the team’s eight-season playoff streak ending, there could be changes in Green Bay. Pete Dougherty of PackersNews.com notes Dom Capers‘ job looks to be in the most danger. The Packers have invested 10 first- or second-round picks in their defense since 2012 and are trotting out a sub-average unit. Green Bay ranks 21st in defensive DVOA and 19th in points allowed. Dougherty writes the advancing ages of Aaron Rodgers (34 in December), Mike McCarthy (54, but in season No. 12) and Ted Thompson (64, in season 13) could force the organization to make a high-profile change in hopes of capitalizing on this era’s Rodgers-opened window. The 67-year-old Capers is in his ninth season leading Green Bay’s defense and been leading defenses for more than 25 seasons.
  • The Seahawks‘ post-Richard Sherman plan will likely feature the nearly traded Jeremy Lane moving into the starting lineup alongside rookie Shaquill Griffin, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes. Condotta predicted the Seahawks would bring in former starter Byron Maxwell for a visit, which they plan to, but no agreement is yet imminent. DeShawn Shead remains on the PUP list after suffering a serious knee injury in the divisional round last season, but thanks to an NFL rule change, the Seahawks don’t have to make an activation decision by Week 11. They can wait longer if they want to activate Shead, but he would likely require multiple weeks of practice to return to a game-ready status. Time’s running out on those prospects, if Seattle wants to use Shead during the regular season.

49ers Place DL Arik Armstead On IR

The 49ers have placed defensive tackle Arik Armstead on injured reserve and released tight end Logan Paulsen, the club announced today. The pair of transactions will create space on San Francisco’s roster for newly-signed defensive tackles Tony McDaniel and Leger Douzable."<strong

Armstead will go on IR after suffering a broken hand in Sunday’s contest against the Redskins. He’ll require surgery and will likely need four-to-six weeks to recover, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The NFL’s injured reserve rules stipulate a minimum absence of eight weeks, so Armstead will have more than enough time to heal. He’ll be eligible to return in Week 15.

Armstead, a first-round pick in 2015, has been excellent on the edge in first-year coordinator Robert Saleh‘s 4-3 scheme. Through five weeks, Armstead had played the second-most defensive snaps of any 49ers defender and posted eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5.5 pressures, and one pass defensed. Overall, the 23-year-old has graded as the NFL’s No. 33 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.

Paulsen, 30, has garnered only one target after agreeing to a one-year deal with the 49ers this spring. That lack of offensive production is wholly unsurprising, as Paulsen earns his money on special teams and as a blocker. Through six games, Paulsen had earned a solid 74.1 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus, a mark which would rank him second behind only Rob Gronkowski if he had enough snaps to qualify.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers DL Arik Armstead To Undergo Surgery

49ers defensive end Arik Armstead will undergo surgery after suffering a broken hand in Sunday’s game, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters, including Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Armstead is a candidate for injured reserve, per Shanahan.Arik Armstead

Armstead, a first-round pick in 2015, has been excellent on the edge in first-year coordinator Robert Saleh‘s 4-3 scheme. Through five weeks, Armstead had played the second-most defensive snaps of any 49ers defender and posted eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5.5 pressures, and one pass defensed. Overall, the 23-year-old has graded as the NFL’s No. 33 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.

Elvis Dumervil and Aaron Lynch are now candidates to see increased usage along a defensive line that also includes DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, and Earl Mitchell. While the 49ers could theoretically add an external option for depth while Armstead is sidelined, they should be getting two defensive ends back in the near future, as Ronald Blair and Tank Carradine are both eligible to return to the field soon.

If Armstead is placed on injured reserve, he’ll face a minimum eight-week absence, meaning he won’t be able to come back until Week 15.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers IR Arik Armstead, Claim Chris Jones

The 49ers have placed defensive tackle Arik Armstead on injured reserve and claimed fellow D-tackle Chris Jones off waivers from the Dolphins, per Doug Kyed of NESN (Twitter links).

Arik Armstead

Armstead has suited up for all eight of the 49ers’ games this season and garnered four starts, but a shoulder injury has bothered the ex-Oregon Duck since training camp. As a result, he only took the field for four plays in the 49ers’ 41-23 loss to the Saints last Sunday. The 2015 first-round pick has amassed decent counting stats this year – 15 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble – but Pro Football Focus ranks his overall performance a below-average 85th among 119 qualified interior D-linemen.

A third-year man, Jones totaled 24 appearances and 22 starts over his first two NFL seasons as a member of the Patriots, who cut him in April. He went on to appear in seven of the Dolphins’ games this year and participate in 19 percent of their defensive snaps before they waived him Monday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Armstead, Briggs, Saints

Here’s a look at the latest regarding a pair of NFC teams:

  • The 49ers are hoping their roster is so deep that first-round defensive end Arik Armstead doesn’t start contributing on the field until 2016, according to of Paul Gutierrez ESPN.com. Armstead might have to make his mark this year, though, as the 49ers’ defensive line took a big hit with the recent retirement of Justin Smith. Veteran Darnell Dockett is expected to be San Francisco’s No. 1 right end, which could leave the left side open for Armstead, Gutierrez notes.
  • Smith’s retirement freed up cap room for the 49ers, but Gutierrez doesn’t necessarily think they’ll use it this year. The team could sign free agent linebacker Lance Briggs, whom it has expressed interest in, but Gutierrez doesn’t expect it to happen unless Briggs comes cheap. Moreover, the Niners have 13 players entering contract years – Aldon Smith, Alex Boone, Anquan Boldin, and Vernon Davis among them – so they have to watch out for the long term.
  • Quarterback Ryan Griffin‘s roster spot with the Saints is in jeopardy after they used a third-round pick on Garrett Grayson. Nonetheless, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com believes Griffin still has a chance to beat out Luke McCown as one of the team’s top three QBs. The winner of the Griffin-McCown battle will likely be the No. 2 behind Drew Brees, leaving Grayson to develop as a No. 3, while the Saints are expected to be cut the loser.
  • Free agent wide receiver Kris Durham told Sirius XM NFL Radio that he worked out for the Saints, writes Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. It was reported earlier this week that Durham worked out for the Cowboys. The four-year veteran has played for the Seahawks, Lions, and Titans during his career, hauling in 55 passes and three touchdowns.

49ers Sign Arik Armstead

The 49ers announced that they have signed first-round pick Arik Armstead, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. The defensive end was selected with the No. 17 overall pick.

Armstead comes from a family of high-level athletes. His father, Guss, was a basketball player at Sacramento State. His brother Armond, meanwhile, played football at USC and enjoyed a stint with the Patriots.

Armstead took a major leap forward from 2013 to 2014, according to NFL.com’s Mike Mayock. Armstead already has great size for the position at 6’7″ and 292 pounds, but Mayock writes that he can still add more bulk to his frame. At the same time, he’s also fairly raw and may need time before he’s a major contributor at the next level.