1. Arik Armstead
Arik Armstead fits our ideal free agent profile in spades – young (26-years-old), coming off a rookie deal with loads of untapped potential. The former Oregon Duck put together his best season by far in 2019, and if signed could wreak havoc for the NY Giants for years to come.
His first four seasons in the NFL were not pretty by any stretch. Injuries and scheme played a major part in Armstead only accumulating 9 sacks in his those four years, which led many to prematurely label the former first-round draft pick as a bust. The 49ers stayed the course with the struggling player by picking up his fifth-year option and it paid off big time as he led the defense with 10 sacks while the team made an unexpected Super Bowl run.
His total numbers on the season were other-worldly; 54 tackles, 10 sacks, 11 TFL, two forced fumbles, and a ridiculous 78-total pressures. He also was very productive in the postseason, adding two more sacks over three games. His efforts led to him receiving an 89.8 Pro Football Focus grade.
The 49ers are in a precarious position this offseason when it comes to keeping the ascending player. San Fransisco projects to have around just $20M in cap space – even after cuts – and the franchise tag number for Armstead figures to come in around $19M as he is a defensive end. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to keep him unless they do nothing else and GM John Lynch puts together some type of crazy creative contract extension.
At 6’7 290 LBs, Armstead could easily slide into the 3/4 defensive end position for the NY Giants. He’s also athletic enough to be a standup pass-rusher in limited situations and even slide inside to make the Big Blue defensive line even more versatile.
He should be high up on Dave Gettleman’s priority list.
Hypothetical offer: 5 years/$85M ($43M GTD)