Keep: Defensive End Ronald Blair
There are both positives and negatives for the 49ers re-signing reserve defensive end Ronald Blair, who hits free agency this offseason.
On the plus side, Blair has been one of the better situational and rotational pass-rushers on San Francisco’s roster the past few years. In 2018, he was second on the defense with 5.5 sacks, and his three sacks this year were likely on pace to surpass last season’s totals.
That was, of course, before Blair suffered a season-ending ACL tear.
The injury could keep Blair from being available until deep into training camp, perhaps the preseason. In the meantime, the Niners have to decide whether they want to bring back Blair, whose rookie contract expires in 2020.
A key reason why the 49ers should retain Blair is because a number of other depth players along the defensive line, namely Kentavius Street and Jullian Taylor, are still relatively unproven. And depth is a major reason why San Francisco has been able to so effectively rotate its linemen this season.
Blair should continue to be a big part of that rotation, especially if his 2019 injury means his new contract would be a bit cheaper.