The San Francisco 49ers rode their defensive line all the way to Super Bowl LIV.
We all know how that Super Bowl ended, with the 49ers blowing a fourth-quarter lead, but the team wouldn’t mind taking another shot with the same core in 2020. As such, re-signing defensive lineman Arik Armstead became a priority.
The 49ers paid a lot to keep Armstead, who came up with a career year right before he hit free agency. Armstead’s deal is for five years up to $85 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
That makes Armstead one of the highest-paid defenders in the NFL. That’s a big jump for a player who was a bit of a disappointment through four seasons.
Arik Armstead emerged in 2019
The 49ers drafted defensive end Nick Bosa second overall last season. That turned the 49ers’ defensive line into perhaps the best in the NFL. Armstead’s career year boosted that unit, too.
Armstead was the 17th pick of the 2015 draft. He had just nine sacks through four seasons and didn’t make a huge impact. But in 2019, Armstead more than doubled his career sack total, picking up 10 sacks.
There’s risk in paying a player coming off a career season in the final year of his contract. It’s especially tricky considering only six defensive linemen in the NFL have a contract worth more than $85 million. But the 49ers know the strength of their team, and want to keep it together for 2020 and beyond.
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