First of all, sorry for the delay. I know I said this would be a regular thing, but I was battling the flu the past two weeks and since it is the off-season after all… You get the idea. But I am healthy now and will get back to what I started a few weeks ago.
So, without further ado, let’s start!
I was sad to be blindsided by the news that the 49ers declined to pick up the 2018 contract option for Elvis Dumervil. He was cut, essentially. Why that is sad? Look at this.
Pay. Older. Proven. Pass Rushers pic.twitter.com/ocZKAKarLE
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) December 4, 2017
Dumervil did exactly what he was brought in to do. He played a part-time role for rushing the passer exclusively and he did a good job. He led the team in sacks (7) which earned him a 76.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. While his grade was dragged down by some bad run snaps, his pass rushing productivity (14.8) was the 2nd highest among edge defenders. This is the reason I would have liked to see him on the 2018 San Francisco 49ers. Older, proven pass rushers win with technique and provide some really good value to a team lacking pass rushers. However, as Chris Biderman (USA Today) and a few other reporters indicated, this might be a move that could precede other actions at this position.
We already know that Cassius Marsh got signed to a contract extension with the team. He should provide what Dumervil provided last year and additionally be of more versatility and play special teams. Still, since basically Aldon Smith, the 49ers are lacking that one pure pass rushing monster, a perennially 10+ sacks guy. Some rumor that the team is interested in Brandon Graham of the Philadelphia Eagles and that the Eagles are willing to move him for the right price after their addition of Michael Bennett. And admittedly, this is an interesting player. Graham is a former first round pick and under contract for one more year ($8M). He would be a guy that could finally crack the 10-sack mark no 49er has cracked in years. However, he will turn 30 in a few days and has never previously registered more than 10 sacks in any season. And I don’t know that he would magically turn into this guy. For comparison, Dumervil earned just over $3M last year and got 7 sacks. Graham might only barely top that mark and would get paid more than double. Also, the 49ers would have to trade for him. So yeah, you can basically bury that thought.
While we are at it, though, let’s talk solutions for the vacant pass rushing spot on our defense. Let’s assume the 49ers fill some holes in free agency (CB, OG). They then are in a prime position to take one of the top pass rushing prospects in this year’s draft. While the top prospect Bradley Chubb will most likely be gone when the 49ers pick at #9 overall, there will be some players available that I actually prefer. Without hesitation, I would take Harold Landry there. His 2016 tape is as good as it gets for edge defenders. He has a phenomenal get off and bend and is basically what you look for in that position if you are the 49ers. He also put up some fantastic numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine last weekend and showed elite athleticism. He is my first choice here.
Let’s make this a bit more interesting, though. These past few days were quite crazy in the NFL, as the Cleveland Browns finally figured out how to file paperwork for trades. They moved some draft capital and some players and acquired Tygod Taylor from the Buffalo Bills. And this is where the 49ers come into play. The Bills are left without a quarterback and will most likely look to trade up into the top 10 of this year’s draft. They have the picks to do so (two 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks respectively). The 49ers are a team willing to trade down. It seems almost logical that a trade is going to happen. And what is best about this: Harold Landry might still be available when the Bills are picking. I do not know what is going to happen, but this would be a realistic scenario both teams could profit from.
The fanbase is freaking out right now because of the 49ers signing Richard Sherman. Released on Friday by the Seahawks, the Stanford alumni moved quickly after that — he was spotted having dinner with Kyle Shanahan as early as that night (per Marcus Thompson, The Athletic)! The very next day he was in for an official visit with the 49ers. Ian Rapoport (NFL Network) and Adam Schefter (ESPN) both indicated early on that this could end up very well being Sherman’s first and only free agency visit.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 9, 2018
— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) March 10, 2018
And now it’s done: 49ers and CB Richard Sherman reached agreement tonight on a three-year deal, source tells ESPN.
Sherman is a 49er.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2018
Well, sure enough they were right. Sherman and the 49ers agreed to a three-year contract paying $13 million a year, per Adam Schefter. John Lynch and Paraag Maraathe made sure the former-Seahawk didn’t even get the chance to leave the building and visit with the Detroit Lions, which was reported to be his next free agent visit.
Sherman, soon to be 30, is still recovering from an Achilles tendon tear he suffered last season. The fans are split, and I am as well. On the one hand, he leads the NFL in interceptions, passes defensed, completion percentage and passer rating allowed among all cornerbacks since 2011. On the other hand, this fanbase has seen Michael Crabtree and Navorro Bowman tear their Achilles tendons and it was not pretty the year after that. Crabtree bounced back nicely since, as did some other players like Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins, but it usually takes a player two years to recover fully from this kind of injury. Now, since the contract is team-friendly (as they usually are when Paraag Marathe negotiates them), I am all for it. Let’s not forget how good of a talent he is. And, if nothing else, he will be a great mentor for Ahkello Witherspoon.
And I will say it. I do not have any problems with him signing with the 49ers. I do get why a lot of fans are still salty towards him and for good reasons. However, this is still a sport and a business and all we fans want is cheering for a good team. If Sherman helps with that, he is more than welcome in my eyes.
On that note, let’s end it for this week. Be sure to let me know what you make of all this. Till next time.