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49ers Scorecard: Offseason Moves Ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft

Apr 8, 2024 at 11:37 AM

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We are now nearly two months removed from the San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl 58 defeat. The NFL Scouting Combine and the bulk of free agency are in the books. Before we look forward to the NFL Draft, it is important to reflect on the moves that have already occurred. They will provide a better picture of the team's remaining needs heading into the annual rookie selection event.

To review a complete list of the 49ers' offseason moves thus far, you can visit our 2024 free agency tracker.

Key Departures

The most significant departure was Arik Armstead. The defensive tackle's high salary-cap figure and his recent injury history prompted the 49ers to negotiate a contract restructure. When a deal couldn't be agreed upon, San Francisco released the veteran defensive lineman, who went on to sign a three-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Armstead was scheduled to earn a $17.41 million base salary with the 49ers in 2024. The defensive tackle later revealed that the 49ers offered him a $6 million one-year deal with incentives that might increase the value to $8 million, a significant pay cut from what he was initially due to earn.

"And when they sent that over, I did feel extremely disrespected," Armstead said. "I don't feel that level of compensation is nowhere near the type of player that I am. And not even just the type of player that I am, what I have committed to the game, what I've committed to my team, what I've committed to the organization in my community."

Armstead wasn't the only defensive lineman to depart the 49ers via free agency. The team allowed Chase Young, the pass rusher they traded for last season, to leave for the New Orleans Saints. Young's production with San Francisco wasn't what the team had hoped for. Knowing that they will receive a compensatory pick for him next year, the 49ers made no attempt to retain him.

An even bigger disappointment may have been former first-round pick Javon Kinlaw, the injury-plagued defensive tackle who never reached expectations. Kinlaw was supposed to be the replacement for DeForest Buckner, whom the 49ers traded to the Indianapolis Colts in 2020. The team seemingly admitted the mistake by signing defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to a massive deal last year. Kinlaw signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets.

Defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who started all 17 games last season before landing on injured reserve and missing the postseason, departed for the Washington Commanders. With their eyes set on other pass-rushing options (see additions below), the 49ers did not attempt to retain him.

Brock Purdy's backup, Sam Darnold, earned himself a one-year, $10 million deal from the quarterback-needy Minnesota Vikings. Tight end Charlie Woerner headed to the Falcons on a three-year, $12 million contract, while wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, the 49ers' special teams returner, joined him in Atlanta on a two-year, $6 million deal.

Key 49ers Retained

San Francisco held onto Jauan Jennings, a restricted free agent, extending a second-year tender on the wide receiver.

"Jauan's always been a baller," head coach Kyle Shanahan said last month. "I think you watch his college tape, the way he plays, Jauan's always been this way. He's a gamer, plays so physically. I think he's only gotten more and more physical each year, the style of how he plays, how big he is. I think people sleep on him a little bit and don't realize how big and physical he is until they get him on game day, and he catches a lot of guys off guard."

While Darnold departed via free agency, quarterback Brandon Allen decided to remain with the 49ers, signing a one-year deal.

Jon Feliciano, a key contributor along the offensive line last season, also stayed in Santa Clara. He appeared in 16 games last season, starting seven and then all three playoff games. According to Pro Football Focus, Feliciano was the second-highest graded (79.8) 49ers offensive lineman last season among players with a qualifying snap count, behind only Trent Williams.

Key Additions

The most significant offseason addition was defensive end Leonard Floyd, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the 49ers. He solidifies the edge of the defensive line opposite Nick Bosa, a spot San Francisco has long sought to fortify with a dependable and disruptive force.

"It's a big upgrade over Clelin Ferrell and Chase Young," analyst Brian Baldinger declared. "You know, it's been a while since they've had a guy that could win one-on-ones and keep the quarterback kind of hurried and affect the quarterback. Leonard, he's a rangy guy. He's won. He's won in the postseason. He's a guy that you've got to pay attention to. So I think it's a big upgrade over what they put out there on the field a year ago."

The 49ers signed defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos to a two-year, $18 million deal, adding some more depth to the pass-rushing group.

Addressing the loss of Armstead, San Francisco traded for former Houston Texans defensive tackle Maliek Collins and signed defensive tackle Jordan Elliott to a two-year, $10 million deal.

The 49ers replaced Darnold in the quarterback room with veteran journeyman Josh Dobbs, signing him to a one-year deal. While Dobbs had other options, the prospect of joining a Super Bowl contender was compelling.

"At this stage of my career, you want an opportunity to get to the dance, whatever aspect, whatever role that takes, just to taste it," Dobbs recently said. "And so to join a team that's done it, my mentality is whatever I can do to help get back there and then go from there."

The 49ers tried to bring in Eric Kendricks as insurance for recovering linebacker Dre Greenlaw, who suffered a torn Achilles last month in the Super Bowl. Instead, Kendricks backed out of the deal to sign with the Dallas Cowboys. That led the 49ers to sign linebacker De'Vondre Campbell to a one-year contract.

"He's a guy we really have always respected and liked," general manager John Lynch said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I think in pass coverage, he's an excellent player, has played the run effectively. Kyle was at Atlanta when De'Vondre was there, so knew him from practicing against him in practice. And way back when he was a rookie, I believe, they were together.

"And De'Vondre just had a very productive career. So that was a blessing that he became available for us, and we pounced on that."

The 49ers hope cornerback Isaac Yiadom might be one of the team's most underrated offseason additions. The team believes he can compete to start on the outside.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported, "The 49ers view Yiadom as a significant addition and he's the leading candidate to start opposite All-Pro cornerback Charvarius Ward, an arrangement which would move Deommodore Lenoir into the slot in 2024."
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