Arik Armstead

Latest On Arik Armstead’s 49ers Departure

Needing to clear cap space and with a considerable amount of resources invested in their defensive front already, the 49ers elected to release defensive tackle Arik Armstead last month. San Francisco, which selected Armstead in the first round of the 2015 draft, first offered the Oregon product the opportunity to remain with the club via a pay reduction (he was due to earn a $17.4MM salary in 2024, the final year of his contract).

Armstead declined the Niners’ proposal, and he drew interest from multiple clubs upon reaching the open market. He ultimately scored a three-year contract with the Jaguars, which was initially reported as a $51MM accord. David Lombardi of The Athletic says that the deal is actually worth $43.5MM, though it includes $28MM guaranteed at signing (subscription required).

Regardless of the contract’s maximum value, the Jags were simply prepared to pay significantly more than the 49ers to secure Armstead’s services, as Lombardi writes. In an episode of his Third and Long with Arik Armstead program on YouTube, the player himself confirms that the 49ers offered him a one-year, $6MM contract for 2024, with incentive provisions that could have pushed the total payout to $8MM. While acknowledging the difficulty of the business decisions that NFL clubs often have to make, Armstead nonetheless said he felt “extremely disrespected” by the offer.

San Francisco ultimately replaced Armstead by swinging a trade with the Texans for Maliek Collins, who comes with an $8MM base salary and $8.47MM cap charge in 2024. Per Lombardi, the team hopes to put the money saved by the Armstead release into a new contract for wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, though the latest reporting on that topic indicates that the 49ers and Aiyuk are not close on their extension talks. Aiyuk is under club control through 2024 via the fifth-year option.

In addition to Collins, the 49ers further buttressed their front seven by signing Leonard Floyd and Yetur Gross-Matos, whose modest 2024 cap numbers check in at $3.4MM and $3.2MM, respectively. While Gross-Matos, a second-round pick of the Panthers in 2020, did not live up to expectations during his four-year run in Charlotte, Niners GM John Lynch said the 26-year-old edge defender generated significant free agent interest from around the league.

“I thought (Gross-Matos’ agent) handled it like a house in Los Altos,” Lynch said (via Lombardi). “He priced it low, then he got the whole league interested and then everybody (got in on the bidding). Yetur was the guy that we signed that we had the most people in the league say, ‘Man, we were in on him.’ A lot of guys were after him.”

Lynch believes Gross-Matos has a real opportunity to thrive in San Francisco’s 4-3 alignment, which will allow the team to utilize his versatility and put him in the best position to succeed.

Jaguars, DT Arik Armstead Agree To Deal

Arik Armstead has not needed to wait long to find a new team, but his next opportunity will not come from one previously on the radar for an agreement. The ex-49ers defensive tackle has a deal in place with the Jaguars, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. This will be a three-year, $51MM pact, per Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report.

Armstead was released by the 49ers at the onset of free agency, but to no surprise he generated considerable interest in short order. The Bills and Texans were among the suitors known to be showing interest in the former first-round pick, but no Jacksonville connections were in place entering Thursday. However, Jaguars GM Trent Baalke was at the helm of the 49ers when Armstead was drafted in 2015.

Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports the Titans were also interested in Armstead in addition to Buffalo and Houston. The latter franchise went as far as setting up a player-for-player trade, she adds. The 49ers and Texans had a swap of Armstead and Maliek Collins on the table before Houston agreed to terms with edge rusher Danielle Hunter. That pact led to the trade falling through, per Russini and colleague Matt Barrows. In spite of that, Armstead will still be headed to Duval County not long after Collins wound up being dealt to San Francisco anyway.

The former racked up five sacks in 2023, the third-highest total of his career. Especially with that figure coming in 12 regular season games, Armstead could provide an interior pass-rushing presence if he can remain healthy with Jacksonville. He managed to play in all three games in San Francisco’s postseason (which resulted in a Super Bowl berth), and his experience in multiple deep postseason runs will be welcomed on the Jaguars.

Jacksonville made the expected move of using the franchise tag on sack leader Josh Allen. Talks on a long-term deal will continue with the two-time Pro Bowler, but he and Travon Walker will remain in place along the edge for at least one more season. Armstead will play in between that pair as part of an upgraded Jags D-line. Last offseason, Baalke handed DaVon Hamilton a three-year, $34.5MM extension and he will partner with Armstead for years to come.

The Jaguars entered Thursday near the bottom of the league in cap space, though in all cases that is a situation which is especially fluid this time of year. Further big-money deals would be challenging for the team to work out, but this Armstead acquisition could prove to be an effective one if he remains productive in the second chapter of his career.

Bills, Texans Interested In Arik Armstead; Houston Submitted Offer To Sheldon Rankins

With the 49ers officially designating Arik Armstead as a post-June 1 release, interest in the nine-year veteran defensive lineman is forming.

The Titans became the first known Armstead suitor, but KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes the Texans join them. Like recent Texans pickup Azeez Al-Shaair, Armstead played under DeMeco Ryans in San Francisco. The 30-year-old defender does not have a clear connection to the Bills, but The Athletic’s Matt Barrows mentioned Buffalo as a team to monitor here. Wilson adds the Bills are indeed interested.

Ryans coached Armstead for two seasons as 49ers defensive coordinator but was in San Francisco during six of the D-lineman’s nine years in the Bay Area. The Texans have added Danielle HunterDenico Autry and Folorunso Fatukasi up front but have endured multiple subtractions on their defensive interior. Sheldon Rankins signed with the Bengals hours after the Texans traded Maliek Collins to the 49ers.

Houston looks to have driven up Cincinnati’s price on Rankins, with Wilson adding the AFC South club made a $12MM-per-year offer to the former first-round pick. Rankins joined the Bengals on a two-year, $26MM deal; he will be set to team with B.J. Hill up front in Cincinnati. Rankins posted his best pass-rushing season since 2018, totaling six sacks and ranking seventh in ESPN’s pass rush win rate metric.

As for Collins, Wilson indicates the team made the decision to move on from the three-year contributor over the weekend. That still proved to be an interesting trade, seeing as Collins totaled five sacks after signing a through-2025 extension last year. The Texans attempted to trade Collins for Armstead, per Wilson. Considering the 49ers cut Armstead, it is unclear what led to the talks breaking down. The 49ers offered Armstead a pay cut, but he balked with an intent on testing free agency.

The Bills are keeping DaQuan Jones, but the veteran run stuffer and Armstead have differing skillsets. The former first-round pick has worked as a plus interior pass rusher, teaming with Nick Bosa as the 49ers’ D-line pillars under Ryans and Robert Saleh. Ed Oliver signed an extension last year, but the Bills have some work to do on their defensive interior. Jordan Phillips, Tim Settle, Poona Ford and Linval Joseph are free agents.

Armstead is coming off knee surgery, after a season in which knee and foot trouble kept him out of five late-season games. The 6-foot-7 defensive tackle returned in the playoffs at less than 100% and sacked Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LVIII. Armstead has eight career postseason sacks, notching at least two during the 2019, 2021 and 2022 playoffs. Despite injuries shortening his 2022 and ’23 seasons, Armstead fared well last year. Pass rush win rate slotted the Oregon alum 10th, while Pro Football Focus ranked him 15th among interior D-linemen while assigning a career-best run-stoppage grade. Armstead totaled five sacks and 13 QB hits in 2023.

Additionally, the Texans are meeting with Settle, according to Wilson. Profiling as a cheaper option compared to Armstead, Settle spent the past two seasons in Buffalo on a two-year, $14MM deal. Once part of the first-rounder-laden Washington D-line, Settle has not disproved his five-sack 2018 season was a fluke. He has never registered more than two in any other slate. The Virginia Tech alum started only four games with the Bills, though he is still just 26.

49ers Release DT Arik Armstead

MARCH 13: The 49ers are designating Armstead as a post-June 1 cut, Maiocco tweets. This path made the most sense for San Francisco, with $18MM coming in cap savings and the veteran DT’s dead money hit being spread over two years. The 49ers will not see the savings until June. The Titans have already been connected as an Armstead suitor.

MARCH 10: A year after assembling a high-priced defensive line via the Javon Hargrave contract and Nick Bosa extension, the 49ers are removing their longest-tenured player from this equation. They are planning to release Arik Armstead, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweets.

Armstead has been with the 49ers since they chose him in the 2015 first round; one season remained on the extension he signed back in 2020. He was due a $17.4MM base salary in 2024. This will almost definitely be a post-June 1 cut, due to the void years attached to the deal. The 49ers would save more than $18MM via a post-June 1 release.

The team approached Armstead about taking a significant pay cut, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco tweets. Armstead declined and will move to free agency soon. With the Chiefs extending Chris Jones at a monster rate and the Ravens giving Justin Madubuike a high-priced deal that had topped the DT guarantee spectrum until the Jones pact surfaced, Armstead should still do well despite his age (30). A host of D-tackles signed extensions last year, effectively clearing the market for Christian Wilkins, who promises to be far more expensive than Armstead.

This could open the door to the 49ers moving into the Wilkins derby, though even as Brock Purdy is on a rookie deal, the team does have a defender-record contract (Bosa’s) and a $21MM-AAV DT deal (Hargrave’s) on its books. The 49ers also came into Sunday over the cap by less than $1MM. Cutting Armstead at the start of the 2024 league year (March 13) would be a way to help on that front, and the nine-year veteran has dealt with injury trouble often during his Bay Area tenure.

The 49ers effectively chose Armstead over DeForest Buckner back in 2020, trading the latter to the Colts in order to work out what turned out to be a lower-priced DT extension. It took a $21MM-per-year deal for Indianapolis to lock down Buckner. After beginning talks, San Francisco decided to trade Buckner and re-up Armstead on a five-year, $85MM deal. The $17MM-AAV contract helped the 49ers give Bosa a high-end sidekick, doing so as a few pieces shuttled on and off the team’s D-line. Bosa and Armstead have been the constants during this strong period, which has brought four NFC championship games in five years.

Armstead missed more time due to injuries last season. After missing eight games in 2022, the 6-foot-7 D-lineman missed five late-season games due to foot and knee injuries. Armstead returned in time for the 49ers’ playoff run but did so at less than 100%. He recently underwent knee surgery and is expected to miss offseason time. These recent setbacks will undoubtedly affect Armstead’s market.

Armstead’s injury trouble aside, he has been one of the NFL’s best interior defenders over the past few years. Moved from a D-end role earlier in his career to a DT, Armstead totaled five sacks and 13 QB hits last season. Pro Football Focus ranked the veteran fifth among interior D-linemen in pass rushing, while ESPN’s pass rush win rate metric slotted him 10th. Armstead totaled 10 sacks during the 49ers’ breakthrough 2019 season; he sacked Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LVIII last month. Armstead has thrived in the playoffs, totaling eight postseason sacks.

This will create a need for the 49ers, who have been known to invest heavily along their defensive line. Javon Kinlaw, whom the 49ers chose with the pick obtained for Buckner, is also a free agent. San Francisco will be a team to monitor here as free agency begins. Armstead and the 49ers’ pay-cut talks came close, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, but the accomplished D-lineman wanted to gauge his market. That could mean the door is not closed on a reunion at a lower rate, but for now, Armstead is out of the picture for the reigning NFC champions.

Titans Interested In DL Arik Armstead, To Meet With LB Jerome Baker

Two recent cap casualties are on the Titans’ radar, one of them having an extensive history with GM Ran Carthon. A year after Carthon brought in Daniel Brunskill and Azeez Al-Shaair from the 49ers, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reports Arik Armstead is on the team’s radar.

While other teams are expected to show interest in the departing San Francisco standout, the Titans are a known suitor. Armstead, 30, has played all nine seasons of his career with the 49ers. Carthon was not in San Francisco’s front office when the team chose him in the 2015 first round, but the veteran exec was with the team when it extended the 6-foot-7 D-lineman. Armstead is likely set to be a post-June 1 49ers cut, though he would be free to sign elsewhere beginning Wednesday.

Additionally, the Titans have scheduled a visit with former Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets. Spending six years with the Dolphins, Baker received his walking papers as the AFC East team made a journey under the salary cap. That odyssey involved cutting multiple regulars. The Titans saw the Dolphins sign linebacker David Long last year; they will see about adding Baker during a Thursday meeting.

Carthon’s team is changing its defense this offseason, bringing in Dennard Wilson to run the show after six years with Mike Vrabel (feat. Shane Bowen) in charge. Armstead has excelled in both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses, being moved to a full-time defensive tackle role as the 49ers found their footing under Kyle Shanahan. While Armstead has battled injury trouble over the past two seasons, he declined a 49ers pay cut and will test free agency for the first time. He will do so not long after undergoing knee surgery; knee and foot issues cost Armstead late-season time last year, though he returned for San Francisco’s playoff slate.

The 49ers gave Armstead a big-ticket extension in 2020, choosing a slightly cheaper deal there rather than giving DeForest Buckner a top-market DT deal. Armstead stayed mostly healthy from 2019-21, racking up 10 sacks to help the Super Bowl LIV-bound 49ers in 2019 and adding six as the 49ers returned to the NFC title game two years later. He totaled five sacks and 13 QB hits — matching his second-highest single-season total — despite missing five regular-season games in 2023. Pro Football Focus ranked the veteran fifth among interior D-linemen in pass rushing, while ESPN’s pass rush win rate metric slotted him 10th.

Miami gave Baker a three-year, $37.5MM extension in 2021. Showing an ability to rack up tackles and sacks with the Dolphins, Baker put together some versatile seasons to start the 2020s. He racked up seven sacks and 112 tackles in 2020 and posted a 5.5/92 pairing a year later. The former third-round pick delivered a four-sack, 100-tackle 2022. Although Baker missed time with an MCL injury and left Miami’s regular-season finale immediately after being activated off IR, he is only 27 and should have a chance to start again in 2024.

Tennessee lost multiple defensive pieces — Al-Shaair and Autry — to Houston this week, though the team did add a linebacker piece in ex-Chargers first-rounder Kenneth Murray. The retooling club will consider some additional pickups, however, with both Armstead and Baker undoubtedly available at discounted rates compared to their second contracts.

49ers’ Arik Armstead To Undergo Knee Surgery, Miss Extensive Offseason Time

Arik Armstead missed extensive time down the stretch for the 49ers, but the veteran defensive lineman was back on the field for each playoff game. Now that the season has ended, the former first-round pick revealed the injury he played through.

The nine-year 49er said Tuesday he suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee during the team’s Dec. 3 win over the Eagles, indicating (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mike Silver) he will undergo surgery. This operation is expected to sideline Armstead for most of the team’s offseason program, though NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco adds the veteran hopes to return by training camp. Armstead will join Dre Greenlaw in missing offseason time, though the concern regarding the linebacker will overshadow worries on the Armstead front.

Armstead, 30, has run into a number of injuries over the course of his career. The Oregon alum has missed 31 regular-season games since going off the 2015 draft board 17th overall. That said, Armstead turned his career around following some early-career setbacks. He played every 49ers game from 2018-21, earning a lucrative extension during that span. But the past two seasons have brought injuries back into the equation.

Upper-body injuries cost Armstead time early in his career, though he rallied back in time to have the 49ers pick up his fifth-year option and ultimately extend him on a five-year, $85MM deal. In 2022, however, Armstead battled trouble with this same knee. A sprain during the 49ers’ 2022 training camp cost Armstead time, and while he returned for Week 1 that year, a hairline fibula fracture led to a half-season absence. This season, Armstead battled knee and foot injuries before coming back for the 49ers’ divisional-round game.

Despite these setbacks, Armstead has remained vital to the 49ers’ defensive blueprint. The team opted to pay Armstead over giving DeForest Buckner a more lucrative extension, trading the latter to the Colts in 2020. Both Buckner and Armstead have remained upper-echelon D-linemen, though Armstead’s ex-Oregon teammate is a higher-level performer. Buckner has received three Pro Bowl nods while picking up two All-Pro honors, whereas Armstead profiles as more of a high-end role player on the 49ers’ Nick Bosa-led D-line.

One season remains on Armstead’s deal, and the void years San Francisco added upon restructuring the contract make the 6-foot-7 interior defender more difficult to cut. Armstead is set to carry a $28.4MM 2024 cap number — third-highest on the team — and would cost more than $25MM to release in a non-post-June 1 capacity this year. If the 49ers do not extend Armstead before the start of the 2025 league year, they will be hit with $15.5MM in dead money due to the three void years tacked onto the deal. Armstead recorded one sack in the playoffs and five during the regular season, grading as Pro Football Focus’ No. 16 overall interior D-lineman.

With Armstead available, the 49ers rolled out a formidable defensive line in the playoffs. San Francisco paired he and Bosa with big-ticket free agent signing Javon Hargrave, trade pickups Chase Young and Randy Gregory, and former first-round pick Javon Kinlaw. Young and Kinlaw are on track for free agency, while Gregory’s contract — a bill the Broncos footed almost entirely this season — may need to be adjusted or shed from the team’s payroll. Backup defensive end Clelin Ferrell is also a free agent-to-be; Ferrell and Drake Jackson missed Super Bowl LVIII.

Ferrell also suffered a torn meniscus, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows. The 49ers placed the free agency pickup on IR in January. Despite the 49ers trading for Young and Gregory, Ferrell started 17 regular-season games opposite Bosa. The former Raiders top-five pick elevated his stock this season, though the knee injury stands to interfere with Ferrell’s attempt to parlay that rebound into a nice contract.

Armstead is the 49ers’ longest-tenured starter, beating out George Kittle by two years. Injuries have nagged him at points, but the veteran remains a productive player for San Francisco. He and Greenlaw, who suffered an Achilles tear while merely trotting onto the field for a defensive possession, will be out of the picture for a while.

49ers Work Out CB Casey Hayward, Expect Arik Armstead Back For Playoffs

Jason Verrett ran into yet another unfortunate setback last week, suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in practice. The 49ers are looking at adding another veteran cornerback as insurance.

Enter Casey Hayward, whom KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes worked out for the 49ers on Tuesday. Hayward, 34, has not played this season. But the 49ers, as their continued Verrett interest and past in-season additions show, place value on veteran corners in the event of injuries to regulars. They again want a veteran corner on their practice squad, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows.

San Francisco brought in the likes of Jackrabbit Jenkins, Josh Norman, Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard from 2021-22; that group joined Verrett, whom the team continued to prioritize in recent offseasons despite his near-annual injury troubles. Hayward spent last season with the Falcons, but the team cut him early during the 2023 offseason.

The former Packers, Chargers and Raiders cover man played well in 2021, garnering a two-year, $11MM Atlanta agreement in March 2022. But he sustained a shoulder injury that limited him to six games last season. A 118-game starter who played on five straight Gus Bradley-run defenses from 2017-21, Hayward was medically cleared this summer. The 49ers are in fairly good shape at corner, with Charvarius Ward making the Pro Bowl and Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas and ex-Hayward Falcons teammate Isaiah Oliver in place as sidekicks.

More relevant to the No. 1-seeded team’s Super Bowl chase: Arik Armstead appears set to return from his latest injury trouble. The veteran defensive tackle has missed the past five games due to foot and knee injuries. Armstead will practice this week, and Kyle Shanahan said (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch) he could have played against the Rams — had the team needed to win its regular-season finale. A ninth-year 49er, Armstead has been pivotal to the team’s Nick Bosa-era D-lines. He is set to team with Bosa, Javon Hargrave and Chase Young upon returning for the divisional round.

The 49ers also designated safety George Odum for return from IR, ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner tweets. Odum, used primarily on special teams during his San Francisco tenure, suffered a biceps injury on Thanksgiving. While that malady was expected to sideline the former All-Pro for the season’s remainder, Odum will be in play to return for the 49ers’ divisional-round game.

The news on safety Tayler Hawkins and defensive end Clelin Ferrell is not as good. Ferrell is likely to miss a few weeks due to a knee injury, Shanahan said. The seventh-year HC did stop short of saying this is a season-ending setback, however. Despite the arrivals of Young and Randy Gregory, Ferrell — who had drifted to healthy-scratch status at points with the Raiders — has started all 17 games this season. Hawkins, a rookie UDFA who made his NFL debut in Sunday’s nonessential Rams tilt, suffered a season-ending wrist injury, the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman notes.

Shanahan added Drake Jackson, who has been on IR since November with a knee injury, is not healthy enough to practice. In the event Odum comes back and Jackson is healthy enough to return, the 49ers are in good shape for injury activations. After using all eight of their IR-return moves during the regular season last year, they have five activations left.

NFC Restructures: Armstead, Lawrence, Okereke

As if they needed to, the 49ers made moves yesterday to increase their already NFL-leading unused salary cap space up to $42.29MM in 2023 (Overthecap.com). This time, San Francisco addressed the contract of defensive tackle Arik Armstead, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

The 49ers came to an agreement with Armstead, who’s currently playing on a five-year, $85MM contract, to convert $14.72MM of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus while adding an additional void year to the end of his current deal. The moved resulted in $11.78MM becoming available in cap space for the 2023 season.

We mentioned yesterday that the additional cap space for the 49ers could have multiple uses that benefit the team. The obvious immediate benefit is that San Francisco should have plenty of flexibility around the trade deadline to make any necessary additions.

If second-year quarterback Brock Purdy decides to continue adding to his flawless regular season record and the team deems that no additions are necessary, the 49ers will be able to roll over unused cap space into 2024, when they’re projected to be $40MM over the salary cap. They’ll likely still make additions or adjustments in the offseason that will make it a closer call but having over $42MM of cap space to play with is insanely valuable.

Here are a couple of other restructures from another 2022 NFC playoff squad:

  • Shortly after rewarding defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence with a four-year, $87.5MM contract extension, the Giants have restructured his new deal for a bit of maneuverability in the team’s cap space, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN. Lawrence’s 2023 base salary of $2.25MM was reduced down to $1.08MM with the difference of $1.17MM being converted into a signing bonus. This is a standard move at the start of the year to help create a bit of flexibility in the team’s salary cap.
  • New York also adjusted the contract of new linebacker Bobby Okereke, according to Raanan. Okereke’s 2023 base salary of $1.9MM was also reduced to $1.08MM with the $820K-difference being converted into a signing bonus. Along with Lawrence’s above restructure, the team was reportedly able to clear up about $1.55MM of cap space for 2023.

Largest 2023 Cap Hits: Defense

While the NFL’s top 2023 cap hits go to players on offense, a number of pass rushers are tied to lofty figures as well. None check in higher than Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

Williams and Chiefs D-tackle Chris Jones carry high contract-year cap hits, while the Steelers’ two front-seven cornerstones each are set to go into training camp with cap figures north of $20MM. As the salary cap climbed to $224.8MM this year, here are the top defensive cap figures as camps near:

  1. Leonard Williams, DL (Giants): $32.26MM
  2. T.J. Watt, OLB (Steelers): $29.37MM
  3. Myles Garrett, DE (Browns): $29.18MM
  4. Chris Jones, DT (Chiefs): $28.29MM
  5. Aaron Donald, DL (Rams): $26MM
  6. Arik Armstead, DT (49ers): $23.95MM
  7. Cameron Heyward, DL (Steelers): $22.26MM
  8. C.J. Mosley, LB (Jets): $21.48MM
  9. Jonathan Allen, DT (Commanders): $21.44MM
  10. Shaquil Barrett, OLB (Buccaneers): $21.25MM
  11. Grady Jarrett, DT (Falcons): $20.63MM
  12. Marlon Humphrey, CB (Ravens): $19.99MM
  13. Shaquille Leonard, LB (Colts): $19.79MM
  14. Kevin Byard, S (Titans): $19.62MM
  15. Adoree’ Jackson, CB (Giants): $19.08MM
  16. Harold Landry, OLB (Titans): $18.8MM
  17. Justin Simmons, S (Broncos): $18.15MM
  18. Jamal Adams, S (Seahawks): $18.11MM
  19. Matt Judon, DE (Patriots): $18.107MM
  20. Quandre Diggs, S (Seahawks): $18.1MM
  21. Nick Bosa, DE (49ers): $17.9MM
  22. DeForest Buckner, DT (Colts): $17.25MM
  23. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE (Dolphins): $17.19MM
  24. DeMarcus Lawrence, DE (Cowboys): $17.11MM
  25. Eddie Jackson, S (Bears): $17.1MM

The Chiefs are working toward a second extension agreement with Jones, who is in the final season of a four-year, $80MM contract. A new deal with the star inside pass rusher would free up cap space, and DeAndre Hopkins is believed to be monitoring this situation.

As for Williams, the Giants had wanted to adjust his deal to reduce his eye-opening cap number. As of mid-June, however, no extension appeared to be on the team’s radar. The previous Giants regime signed off on the 2021 Williams extension (three years, $63MM). The Giants are also uninterested — for the time being, at least — in extending Jackson, who was also a Dave Gettleman-era defensive addition.

Donald is in the second season of a three-year, $95MM deal. The Rams gave Donald a landmark raise last year, convincing the all-everything D-tackle to squash retirement talk. A no-trade clause exists in Donald’s contract, which pays out its guarantees this year. Mosley remains tied to the $17MM-per-year deal the Mike Maccagnan regime authorized with the Jets. That contract, which reset the off-ball linebacker market in 2019, still has two seasons remaining on it due to the deal tolling after Mosley’s 2020 COVID-19 opt-out call. The Jets restructured the deal last year.

Washington now has two D-tackles tied to deals of at least $18MM per year. While Daron Payne‘s pact is worth more ($22.5MM AAV), higher cap hits on that deal will come down the road. Three years remain on Allen’s 2021 agreement. At safety, no team is spending like the Seahawks. In addition to the big-ticket deals authorized for Adams and Diggs, Seattle gave ex-Giants starter Julian Love a two-year, $6MM accord in March.

New Titans GM Ran Carthon attempted to give Byard a pay cut. That request did not go over well, but the standout safety remains with the team and has not requested a trade. Tennessee re-signed Landry on a five-year, $87.5MM deal in 2022; the veteran edge rusher has yet to play on that deal due to the ACL tear he sustained just before last season.

The 49ers can bring Bosa’s number down via an extension, which has long been on the team’s docket. As San Francisco extended Deebo Samuel just after training camp began last year, Bosa received back-burner treatment due to the fifth-year option. The star defensive end’s price undoubtedly went up during the waiting period, with the former No. 2 overall pick earning Defensive Player of the Year acclaim in the fourth year of his rookie contract.

Elijah Mitchell Facing Another Extended Absence; Arik Armstead Nearing Return

Elijah Mitchell opened the season as the 49ers’ starting running back, but an MCL sprain changed his second-year path. After returning to complement trade acquisition Christian McCaffrey, Mitchell will be shut down because of an MCL again.

The 49ers are expecting to be without Mitchell for a six- to eight-week stretch because of another MCL sprain, Kyle Shanahan said Monday. This depleted a backfield already affected by the 49ers trading Mitchell’s initial replacement — Jeff Wilson — to the Dolphins on deadline day. Mitchell damaged his other MCL, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, not the one he hurt in September.

Despite being a sixth-round pick, Mitchell emerged as San Francisco’s lead back last season. The Louisiana product amassed 963 rushing yards in just 11 games, but injuries have continually held back the mid-major alum. While other issues led to Mitchell’s six missed games as a rookie, he underwent knee surgery this offseason. His ensuing bouts of knee trouble obviously provide a concern about his long-term viability. The 49ers will need to make another backfield adjustment going forward.

San Francisco has assembled an interesting collection of skill-position players, adding McCaffrey to its George KittleDeebo Samuel duo. But these three have each run into extensive injury trouble, injecting doubt about their availability for the next two months. Mitchell represented high-end insurance for McCaffrey and played well upon return from his initial MCL sprain, but he can be labeled an injury-prone player at this point as well. The 49ers can turn back to third-round rookie Tyrion Davis-Price as a CMC complement. The LSU product’s role stands to grow going forward, with Wilson now the Dolphins’ starter post-trade.

The 49ers may also have a decision to make regarding their injured reserve list. The NFL’s offseason IR adjustment would allow for Mitchell to be placed on IR and return again, but the league also capped the number of players who can be activated from teams’ IR, PUP and NFI lists at eight. The 49ers lead the league with seven such activations, and starting defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw remains on IR. If Mitchell returns to IR, only one of these two players can be activated this season. The 49ers are planning to place Mitchell back on IR, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com tweets, putting this either/or scenario into play. Mitchell’s timetable indicates the team would need to hold its final IR activation until the postseason, inserting some roster-related risk into the surging 49ers’ equation.

Arik Armstead has missed most of the 49ers’ season but is not on IR; Shanahan provided more positive injury news regarding the longtime San Francisco defensive lineman. Armstead is expected to return to practice Wednesday, Wagoner tweets. The veteran D-tackle has been out since Week 4 with a hairline fibula fracture. The 49ers have maintained their No. 1 defensive ranking for weeks without Armstead and others in the picture. They stand to receive a boost when the eighth-year defender returns to action.