San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead is the No. 18-ranked free agent in 2020, according to a recent listing of pending free agents for the upcoming offseason.
NFL free agency in 2020 could be pretty wild, and the San Francisco 49ers are no strangers to what could be a flurry of moves between some top players on the open market this offseason.
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco recently put together a ranking of the top 100 free agents scheduled to hit the free-agent market in 2020, and there are some Niners players to wonder about here.
Especially defensive end Arik Armstead.
Armstead enjoyed a career-best campaign in 2019, being the only player on a stacked San Francisco defensive line to record double-digit sacks. He recorded 10 in that category, while also adding 54 tackles and 18 quarterback hits. While there’s little doubting Armstead benefited from a stockpile of other top defenders, including defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and EDGEs Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, Armstead also came into his own.
As such, Prisco ranked Armstead No. 18 on his list of top players hitting NFL free agency.
“He had his best season in 2019, coming at the right time,” Prisco wrote. “It’s unlikely the 49ers will be able to keep him, so he’s about to get a mega-deal from some team.”
Prisco’s assessment on the 49ers not being able to keep Armstead is largely hinged on the fact the team is relatively limited with current salary cap space — $12,108,031 according to Over the Cap, currently.
Armstead figures to command somewhere around $15 million annually, while the franchise tag is an option at roughly $17 million. San Francisco does have some options to make it work, including some would-be salary-cap cuts. But that doesn’t address the other issues the Niners have on their roster, including also-pending free agents, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and defensive back Jimmie Ward.
The 49ers would also like to extend Buckner and tight end George Kittle at some point soon, too. Needless to say, it’s going to be tough for general manager John Lynch and Co. to engineer the kind of money Armstead will likely get elsewhere.
Prisco ranked Ward 38th among the list of free agents, while Sanders was ranked 64th.
NFL free agency will officially open up on Wednesday, March 18 with the start of the league new year at 4 p.m. ET.