The 49ers weren’t going to be able to match the deal D.J. Jones received from the Broncos, but signing veteran defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway helps.
The San Francisco 49ers probably knew they didn’t stand much of a chance re-signing veteran nose tackle D.J. Jones once NFL free agency began, not after he put together his best season as a pro in 2021.
As it turned out, Jones signed a significant three-year, $30 million deal with the Denver Broncos as one of the Niners’ first pending free agents to leave this offseason.
Jones played a vital role for San Francisco’s defensive line the last five years, and his presence will be missed. However, the 49ers have long prioritized their D-line depth, and one had to figure general manager John Lynch and Co. would make up for the loss one way or another.
49ers sign former Eagles DT Hassan Ridgeway in NFL free agency
While it’ll go under the radar, at least in terms of the many other splash signings in NFL free agency this offseason, the Niners picking up veteran defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway should help bolster the D-line in the wake of Jones’ departure.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, it’s a one-year deal worth $2.5 million:
Ridgeway, 27 years old and a Northern California native, was a fourth-round NFL Draft choice of the Indianapolis Colts out of Texas, spending his first three years in Indy before landing with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019.
Last year, appearing in all 17 games, Ridgeway recorded 20 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble, and one would figure the 6-foot-3, 305-pound defensive lineman will occupy a Jones-like role heading into 2022.
Ridgeway does come with some injury concerns, though, as he missed all but seven games because of an ankle injury in 2019, then suffered a biceps injury in 2020, which held him to only seven games played, too.
However, assuming Ridgeway plays more of a rotational role, San Francisco will likely be willing to take that gamble with the hope its D-line can remain as stout as it was a year ago.