Samson Ebukam has found a new home. The free agent defensive end is signing with the Colts, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).
Ebukam is inking a three-year deal with the Colts. The contract can be worth up to $27MM, including more than $11MM due in the first year.
The former fourth-round pick played out his rookie contract with the Rams before inking a two-year deal with the 49ers prior to the 2021 campaign. After starting 11 of his 17 appearances during his first year in San Francisco, Ebukam started all 15 of his appearances in 2022.
He ultimately finished this past season with 36 tackles and career-highs in sacks (five) and QB hits (13). Pro Football Focus only ranked him 72nd among 119 qualifying edge defenders, although they did grade him as an above-average option at the position in 2021. At the very least, he should help fortify a Colts pass rush that’s also brought in linebacker E.J. Speed.
As for the 49ers, the team will need to find a new rusher to play opposite Nick Bosa. With Javon Hargrave now in the picture, Arik Armstead could end up seeing more time on the edge in 2023.
The Cardinals have fared well when picking in the top five over the past two decades, landing the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson and Kyler Murray. The team’s second-half swoon last season led to a rebuild, giving a new regime the No. 3 overall pick. Similar to the Bears, the Cards are prepared to move down. GM Monti Ossenfort made that clear, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). The team gave Murray a landmark extension last summer, and although Year 1 of that deal did not go well, he remains Arizona’s franchise quarterback. As such, the team will be prepared to move down to accommodate a QB-seeking team (or one eyeing the top non-passer available) that was unable to land Chicago’s pick. Such a move would bolster a roster that enters free agency with several holes.
Here is the latest from the NFC West:
Ossenfort also said the Cardinals have been in talks with free agents-to-be Zach Allen and Byron Murphy. The first-year GM indicated the Cardinals “would love” to keep both players, though he noted the obvious financial caveat (via AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban) that could lead each out of town. Both were drafted to play in Vance Joseph‘s system in 2019, and each will be among the top free agents at their respective positions. If Murphy and Allen leave, cornerback and defensive line would become areas of dire need in Arizona. The Cards did not put much around Murphy since Peterson’s 2021 exit, and Allen following J.J. Watt off the roster would obviously put the onus on the NFC West squad adding reinforcements up front.
Brock Purdy‘s postponed elbow surgery will take place Friday, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets. The breakthrough 49ers quarterback was initially scheduled to undergo the UCL repair Feb. 22, but swelling led to a delay. The seventh-round pick who would be on track to retain his starting role is expected to face a six-month recovery timetable, which would run up against Week 1. This creates more QB uncertainty in San Francisco, though Trey Lance is on track to participate in OTAs. The plan remains for Purdy to have a less invasive elbow procedure, but he acknowledged Tommy John surgery — elbow reconstruction — could take place. The latter route would threaten to hijack Purdy’s 2023 season.
The 49ers discussed trading for Frank Clark before the veteran defensive end agreed to a Chiefs restructure in 2022, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes. Clark is now available, having been a Chiefs cap casualty this week. The former Seahawks draftee’s 13.5 playoff sacks are the third-most in NFL history, but he never topped eight during a regular season with the Chiefs. The 49ers could consider Clark opposite Nick Bosa, with Samson Ebukam being viewed (via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com) as likely to price himself out of San Francisco. Ebukam, 27, recorded 9.5 sacks in his two-year 49ers run. He could command an eight-figure-per-year deal, per Fowler, as this edge rusher market is fairly light. Even ahead of his age-30 season, Clark may not come much cheaper.
Azeez Al-Shaair figures to join Ebukam on the way out of the Bay Area, Barrows adds. The 49ers have already given Fred Warner a top-market contract, and they reached a midlevel agreement to retain ascending sidekick Dre Greenlaw last year. Al-Shaair will join a crowded off-ball linebacker market next week.
The Seahawks went through with some front office promotions recently. Nolan Teasley has moved into the role of assistant GM, while Matt Berry will become the team’s senior director of player personnel. Teasley has been with the team since 2013, moving up from the scouting level. Berry has been working with the Seahawks longer than GM John Schneider, having started with the team in 2008. Additionally, Willie Schneider will step into Beasley’s former role of pro personnel director. Aaron Hineline will replace Berry as director of college scouting.
The Seahawks’ recent Phil Haynesdeal will be a one-year, $4MM pact, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com tweets. The prospective guard starter will receive a fully guaranteed $1.3MM base salary and a $2.2MM signing bonus.
The 49ers are unlikely to exercise DT Javon Kinlaw‘s fifth-year option, as Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Given that Kinlaw has played in just 10 regular season games over the past two seasons, that should be a fairly easy call for GM John Lynch.
Drafted in 2020 with the No. 14 overall selection — the pick that the 49ers acquired from the Colts in the DeForest Buckner trade — Kinlaw has battled intermittent knee trouble since his college days. He appeared in 14 games (12 starts) in his rookie season, but he played in just four contests in 2021 before undergoing season-ending knee surgery (which was later reported to be an ACL reconstruction).
Kinlaw, 25, opened the 2022 campaign as a starting defensive tackle alongside Arik Armstead, but he played just three games before more knee problems landed him on IR. He returned for the final three games of the regular season and started all three of San Francisco’s playoff contests, though his performance left much to be desired. Pro Football Focus assigned him an abysmal 36.7 run defense grade, and he also failed to replicate the interior pass rush presence that D.J. Jones offered before he signed with the Broncos last offseason. All things considered, then, it makes sense that the club would decline the chance to lock Kinlaw into a fully-guaranteed $10.5MM salary for 2024.
Kinlaw will, at least, get one more chance to rebuild his stock before hitting the open market. 10 of the 14 defensive linemen who played a snap for the Niners in 2022 are currently out of contract, and cutting Kinlaw would not result in any cap relief. Still, the club will probably search for DT reinforcements, as Kinlaw was hardly a world-beater even when he was mostly available as a rookie. Legal issues aside, Lynch could look to re-sign Charles Omenihu, though he may be too expensive to retain — PFF estimates a contract featuring a $9MM AAV — and Barrows says the team may want more of a run-stuffer anyway when it comes to DT options.
Lynch may also be on the hunt for DE upgrades. With Nick Bosa on one side of the line, San Francisco reportedly feels as if it should have a more elite edge rush, so the team could look to move on from Samson Ebukam and target a player like Yannick Ngakoue or Marcus Davenport, or it could consider a trade. Of course, the team is presently without a first- or second-round pick in the 2023 draft and does not have a ton of salary cap space, so it will be difficult to make too many high-end acquisitions. The 49ers will also hope that 2022 second-rounder Drake Jackson, who flashed as a rookie despite being a healthy scratch in five of the last six games of the season, will take a step forward.
March 15th, 2021 at 3:49pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The 49ers are poaching away a young player from a division rival. San Francisco has agreed to terms on a deal with former Rams outside linebacker Samson Ebukam, sources tell Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).
It’s a two year pact worth $12MM that can be worth up to $13.5MM with incentives, Pelissero writes. A 2017 fourth-round pick, Ebukam has shown plenty of flashes although he’s never been able to have a full-time role in the Rams’ often loaded defensive front. This past year he started 14 games, but only played around 35 percent of the defensive snaps in a rotational role.
Even still, he managed to finish with 4.5 sacks, so it easily could’ve been double digits had he been playing every down. He’s also been durable, appearing in all 16 games in all four of his pro seasons.
The Eastern Washington product is still only 25, so this is a nice upside signing for a 49ers team that saw their pass-rushers get decimated by injuries this past year. Fortunately they’ll have Nick Bosa back in 2021, which should make Ebukam’s job easier just like playing next to Aaron Donald did.
The Seahawks have struggled not just to replace offensive linemen from the Marshawn Lynch era but to replace Lynch himself. Last season, they went through several running backs but saw none emerge as a surefire answer. Five backs — Eddie Lacy, Mike Davis, Thomas Rawls, Chris Carson, J.D. McKissic — received more than 45 carries, but none surpassed 70 in a strange season. Now, the team is hoping one of these players in particular will be the leader in 2018. Carson’s been the clear No. 1 back throughout the offseason, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times expects him to be the starter in Week 1, should he stay healthy. Carson averaged 4.2 yards per carry prior to breaking his ankle early in the season. The Seahawks also added Rashaad Penny in the draft, but at this point, Carson is running ahead of the San Diego State alumnus few expected to be a first-round pick. Condotta also expects Prosise and McKissic to vie for the third-down back role, mentioning Prosise — should he stay healthy after an injury-prone career thus far — as a threat to factor into the starter conversation.
Here’s the latest from the NFC, pivoting to one of the Seahawks’ top rivals.
Although the Rams drafted three linebackers and have emerging backup Matt Longacre due back from injury, the team that devoted substantial offseason resources to restocking its defensive line and secondary doesn’t have much in the way of certainty on its second level. The Rams traded Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree, shedding salary but creating lineup vacancies. The team is counting on Longacre, 2017 fourth-rounder Samson Ebukam and third-year UDFA Cory Littleton to be first-string presences, Joe Curley of USA Today notes. Los Angeles drafted edges Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Trevon Young in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively, and brought in ILB Micah Kiser with a fifth-round pick. However, Curley adds that ex-Chief inside ‘backer Ramik Wilson could be called upon as a possible starter as well in this still-muddled situation.
Desmond Trufant may have a new sidekick at some point this season. The Falcons used second-round pick Isaiah Oliver at right cornerback throughout the offseason, and D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notesDan Quinn would like to have a bigger presence at that position (Robert Alford is 5-foot-10; Oliver is 6-1). While predicting Oliver will begin his career as a special-teamer, Ledbetter writes that Alford would be an option as the Falcons’ slot corner if Oliver moves into the starting lineup. The Falcons extended Alford in 2016 and are set to pay him over $9MM in each of the next three seasons, though they can get out of that contract relatively easily after 2018.
The Rams have become the latest club to lock up their 2017 draft class, as the team announced they’ve agreed to terms with fourth-round wide receiver Josh Reynolds, fourth-round linebacker Samson Ebukam, sixth-round defensive tackle Tanzel Smart, sixth-round fullback Sam Rogers, and seventh-round linebacker Ejuan Price.
Reynolds, who posted 1,039 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns during his final season at Texas A&M, figures to see the most playing time of the rookies signed today. The 6’3″, 195-pounder — whom Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compares to NFLer Marvin Jones — will compete with fellow rookie Cooper Kupp for playing time behind Robert Woods and Tavon Austin.
Here’s a complete overview of the Rams’ 2017 rookie crop:
The Jets are no longer on the clock at #125, reports SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano (via Twitter). The Rams have taken their place, implying that the two teams have made a trade. That is indeed the case, as Vacchiano tweets that New York has acquired pick #141 from Los Angeles. The Jets also added a sixth-rounder (#197) in order to move down 16 spots.
The Rams used the pick to select linebacker Samson Ebukam. The Washington product was named to the First Team All-Big Sky Conference this past season after being named to the second team in 2014 and 2015. In 38 career NCAA games, Ebukam compiled 188 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, and 24 sacks.
The Chargers have been connected to a number of quarterback prospects, including DeShone Kizer, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Dobbs. Current signal-caller, veteran Philip Rivers, understands why his team would start looking for an heir apparent. However, the 35-year-old was also adamant that he’s not looking to give up his role anytime soon.
“I think it’s to be expected they’re going to get a young guy in the room to try and develop him and groom him,” Rivers said (via ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams). “It doesn’t by any means really affect me. I think it’s healthy for me. … This thing doesn’t last forever. I have to get to playing better and keep this thing going as long as you can.
“As long as I do that, then whoever it is they bring in here, they’re going to sit for a while.”
Rivers finished this past season with 4,386 yards, 33 touchdowns, and a career-high 21 interceptions.
According to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com, Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan didn’t show a whole lot of speed during his school’s Pro Day, but he looked solid in positional drills. The defender previously met with the Saints, and he had dinner with the Jets on Thursday night.
There were a number of offensive line coaches at Utah’s Pro Day, including staff from the Jets, Browns, Jaguars, and Lions. Offensive tackle Sam Tevi was impressive during the workouts, and the big man has drawn particular interest from both the Saints and Patriots.
Eastern Washington doesn’t have their Pro Day until early next week, but that didn’t stop some coaches from visiting their top prospects. The Cardinals and Buccaneers reportedly visited campus to work out defensive lineman Samson Ebukam.