Free agent defensive lineman Ricardo Mathews worked out for the 49ers today, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. San Francisco auditioned three free agent defensive lineman today, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Mathews and fellow veteran Tyson Jackson represent two of those visits, but the identity of the third player isn’t yet known.
This is the second time Mathews has met with the 49ers this offseason, per Rapoport, and those visits constitute the only known interest Mathews has generated since free agency opened in the spring. The 30-year-old Mathews appeared in all 16 games a season ago — the fourth time he’s done so in his seven-year career — and played on 29.7% of the Steelers’ defensive snaps. While not an interior pass-rusher (Mathews managed just one sack and 5.5 pressures in 2016), he’s a serviceable defender against the run.
San Francisco ranked 31st in run defense DVOA last year, so while the club can clearly use the help up front, it’s not clear the 49ers have room for yet another defensive lineman. Just this offseason, the Niners have added third overall draft pick Solomon Thomas and free agent signing Earl Mitchell to their front four, a group that already included Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Quinton Dial, Chris Jones, Aaron Lynch, and others.
If the 49ers do sign Mathews (or Jackson), they’ll almost assuredly do so on a one-year, minimum salary benefit contract.