Arik Armstead

NFC West Notes: Rams, 49ers, Johnson

Todd Gurley has made it through five games without a knee-related absence this season, which could be considered a victory based on the suspicion surrounding the Rams running back this offseason. But the two-time first-team All-Pro has encountered a quadriceps issue and is “up in the air” for Week 6, per Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). The Rams initially viewed this as a minor malady, but Gurley is not a lock to suit up against the 49ers. The fifth-year running back has been productive but a cut off his All-Pro form this season. He has yet to post a 100-yard rushing game and, with 338 scrimmage yards, is well off the pace of his past two slates. It would not surprise if the Rams exercised caution here and turned their Week 6 backfield reins over to Malcolm Brown.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The knee and quad injuries Dee Ford suffered early in his 49ers stay have limited his workloads this season. Ford has played just 33 snaps over the past two games and has not gone through a healthy performer’s practice work. The 49ers holding Ford out of Wednesday and Thursday practices throughout the season would not be a surprise, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. The trade acquisition still rates as a top-20 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, but has played just 97 snaps this season.
  • After injury trouble and role changes, Arik Armstead entered this season with an uncertain future. But his first four games of a contract year have helped change his status, and John Lynch now indicates the fifth-year defensive lineman will be a sought-after commodity if he reaches the 2020 open market. “What Arik needs to do is keep on playing at that level and he’s going to make his life really easy because a lot of people are going to coveting him, along with us,” Lynch said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. The 2015 first-round pick arrived during Jim Tomsula‘s one-year stay and missed 18 games between the 2016 and ’17 seasons. But Armstead bounced back to play 18 in 2018 and grades as PFF’s No. 14 edge defender through four games. The 49ers have DeForest Buckner extension talks on tap for 2020; they may have to consider the franchise tag for Armstead.
  • An unorthodox Trent Williams destination: the NFC’s Los Angeles team. While other teams have much bigger offensive line needs, Sean McVay coached Williams in Washington. The Redskins also moved the longtime left tackle to guard for a 2018 game. That would be where Williams would play if the Rams traded for him, with Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein entrenched at tackle. The Rams remain confident in left guard Joseph Noteboom, but Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic notes (subscription required) the team desires immediate improvement up front. PFF grades Noteboom as its fifth-worst full-time guard.
  • While Gurley may miss Week 6, David Johnson is also in danger of a Sunday absence. The Cardinals running back is dealing with a back injury and has missed two practices this week. A 2018 fourth-round pick out of Fordham, Chase Edmonds will start if Johnson cannot go. Johnson has not missed a game since a wrist injury sidelined him for 15 2017 contests.

Breer’s Latest: Jets, Broncos, Rudolph

Some assorted notes from’s Albert Breer leading up to tonight’s draft…

  • The Jets are beginning to gain some traction on a deal involving the third-overall pick. Breer mentions that the Redskins could be a match, with the team presumably eyeing a quarterback. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins could be an option, as could Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (if he isn’t taken with the first-overall pick). Breer notes that if the Jets remain in the top-10, they could opt for Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who one scout described as “the epitome of a [defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams player.”
  • Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is “rising continuously in draft meetings” among the Broncos front office. The team could be eyeing him with pick No. 10, or they could be preparing for a scenario where Lock falls towards the bottom of the first round.
  • After paying Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter, the Vikings could be looking to deal one of their other pricey veterans. Tight end Kyle Rudolph could be a trade candidate, and Breer writes that he wouldn’t be shocked if the Patriots make a play for the pass-catcher. The writer mentions cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes as well as wideout Laquon Treadwell as trade candidates.
  • Two players who are set to play on their fifth-year option are on the block. Breer writes that Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor and 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead “have been part of trade discussions.” On the flip side, Breer believes that it’s unlikely that the 49ers trade defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.
  • If Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat gets past the Redskins (No. 15), Panthers (No. 16), or Seahawks (No.21), Breer is unsure how far the defensive end could end up falling. Breer points to the Rams as a potential fit at the end of the first round. Reports indicated that Sweat was diagnosed with a heart condition, although there were rumblings today that he may have been misdiagnosed.

Trade Rumors: Cardinals, Armstead, Haskins

The Seahawks and Chiefs agreed to a blockbuster trade earlier today that will send Frank Clark to Kansas City. And as Albert Breer of writes, the veteran trade market is expected to remain hot this week. Breer says that rival clubs are “keeping an eye” on Cardinals‘ DL Robert Nkemdiche, and given that Nkemdiche suffered a torn ACL in December, it’s possible that he could be had for minimal compensation. He has battled injuries throughout his career and has not really lived up to his potential when on the field, but as a former first-round pick who won’t turn 25 until the regular season starts, it makes sense that he would draw some interest. He did post 4.5 sacks in 10 games (six starts) last year.

Now for more trade rumblings from around the league:

  • Assuming the Cardinals draft Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen expects the club to be patient with a Josh Rosen trade (Twitter link). If they cannot get fair value for Rosen prior to the draft, the Cards could wait until after a few signal-callers come off the board and QB-needy teams start to get a little anxious. We heard earlier today that Arizona is still undecided as to what it will do with the first pick in the draft, but if the Cardinals don’t nab Murray, it would be a major surprise.
  • Breer writes that 49ers‘ DE Arik Armstead is also expected to draw some trade interest, though he remains in San Francisco’s plans. Raiders‘ DT Justin Ellis is also said to be available, while Cowboys WR Allen Hurns is the best wideout that could be had via trade [SOURCE LINK].
  • In a separate piece, Breer writes that rival clubs are monitoring Jaguars LB Telvin Smith and Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. as potential trade targets, though neither player is on the trade block just yet.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports continues to hear that the Lions and Jets are interested in trading down from their current first-round slots, and he sees the Falcons as a potential partner for Detroit (Twitter link). Interestingly, Breer hears the same [SOURCE LINK]. Clemson DT Christian Wilkins could be the target if Atlanta wants to move up, though Breer says the team has been “nosing around” offensive linemen as well as defensive linemen.
  • As La Canfora writes in a separate piece, the Redskins could be the Jets‘ trade partner if Washington feels it needs to trade up to land Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins. One way or another, JLC believes the Redskins will come away from the draft with Haskins in tow. This is at least the second time La Canfora has written about a potential deal between Washington and New York.
  • The Chargers are open to trading down from the No. 28 overall pick in Thursday’s draft, per the team’s official website. But given that there is a lot of depth in this draft and not many obvious first-round talents, GM Tom Telesco could find it difficult to execute such a deal.

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 “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 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, 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 (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 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 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 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 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 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.