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PFF examines pros and cons of 49ers’ free-agency moves

Mar 22, 2024 at 4:13 PM


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The San Francisco 49ers have primarily focused on bolstering their defense in free agency. This has included a significant overhaul of the team's defensive front, with notable departures such as Arik Armstead, Chase Young, and Clelin Ferrell.

However, the 49ers managed to reinforce their defensive line with key signings, including Leonard Floyd, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Jordan Elliott. Additionally, they traded for Maliek Collins to help along the interior.

Pro Football Focus recently analyzed the pros and cons of each team's free-agent acquisitions, indicating that San Francisco isn't expected to take a step back when it comes to rushing the passer.

"Despite losing Arik Armstead and Chase Young, the 49ers have an excellent pass-rush foundation with Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrave," Dalton Wasserman wrote. "They've managed to navigate those losses by adding some solid players during the free agency period."

Wasserman likes the Floyd and Collins additions, stating, "Floyd, a free agent who played in Buffalo last year, has racked up at least nine sacks in four straight seasons and still has a nice burst off the edge heading into his age-32 season."

He adds, "Collins was acquired from Houston for minimal draft compensation. He tied his career high with 48 pressures last season, earning a solid 68.4 pass-rush grade along the way."

However, not every move garnered praise from the analytics site. Brad Spielberger criticized the signing of Gross-Matos to a two-year, $18 million deal, deeming it poor value.

"Gross-Matos wasn't a great fit in Ejiro Evero's base 3-4 defense as a big defensive end (6-foot-5 and 265 pounds), and he was never all that productive in Carolina throughout his contract," Spielberger wrote. "San Francisco must have really liked him as a prospect when he was the No. 38 overall pick in 2020, because this move is a bit of a head-scratcher."

While the 49ers recorded more sacks in 2023 (48) compared to 2022 (44), their pass rush displayed inconsistency throughout the season. The team hopes that defensive line coach Kris Kocurek can maximize the potential of the new infusion of talent to improve production.
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