3 free agents 49ers can still sign to help 2021 playoff push

Olivier Vernon #54 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Olivier Vernon #54 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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Olivier Vernon, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers free-agent target No. 2: EDGE Olivier Vernon

The 49ers have one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL right now in EDGE Nick Bosa. And they have a decent No. 2 option in reserve EDGE Arden Key.

But any playoff-hopeful team has to understand why it’s important to be as deep as possible in the pass-rushing department, especially when the postseason comes around. Without EDGE Dee Ford in the mix any longer because of injury, finding someone else who can boost Key and take the pressure off Bosa should be a big priority.

It’s still something of a shock veteran defensive end Olivier Vernon is still out there on the NFL free agency market after finishing his 2020 campaign with the Cleveland Browns with nine sacks over 14 games, albeit tearing his Achilles at the year’s end.

Hopefully recovered by now, the 31-year-old Vernon wouldn’t be tasked with being an every-down player, rather just a situational pass-rusher who could occasionally spell Bosa and come in on specific pass sets.

Even a mere sack or two during the postseason run would be worth the money the Niners would potentially spend on Vernon, who likely still has some juice after producing a nine-year career that boasted 63.5 sacks.