This one move can make 49ers defense unfair for other teams

As the 49ers prepare for the 2023 season, there's a strong defensive player surprisingly unsigned who could give the defensive line a big push.
Indianapolis Colts v Minnesota Vikings
Indianapolis Colts v Minnesota Vikings / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

The San Francisco 49ers will be entering the 2023 season as one of the hot favorites to represent the weaker NFC in the Super Bowl, as only they and Philadelphia Eagles are generally considered to be Super Bowl-worthy squads in the conference.

Notwithstanding a new contender throwing a hat into the ring, the Niners are looking to do everything possible to get past the Eagles in the clash of NFC heavyweights and get back into the Super Bowl to win that elusive sixth Lombardi Trophy.

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To that end, the 49ers poached one of the key players in the Eagles' journey to the Super Bowl when they signed defensive tackle Javon Hargrave in free agency. Hargrave provides an instant boost to the defensive interior and forms a potent duo with Arik Armstead not seen since DeForest Buckner was on the team.

But while the opening splash wave of NFL free agency is long gone, there's a surprising name that's still on the unemployment pile in EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, a consistently good pass-rusher who could be the final cog that gets San Francisco's defensive line from excellent to ridiculously overpowered.

Ngakoue has always had a high floor as a pro, with at least eight sacks every year while remaining fairly durable. While he's never been a huge sack collector with a ceiling of only 12 sacks, the fact he's been so consistent in his career is fairly impressive.

He would fit in well on a 49ers team stacked with pass-rushing talent, bookending the Defensive Player of the Year in Nick Bosa, who will soak up the most attention of opposing teams which would allow Ngakoue to tee off on opposing quarterbacks as the "forgotten" EDGE.

While second-year EDGE Drake Jackson is expected to leap in 2023, it's not a sure thing, which can be a problem for a roster that wants to win now.

Ngakoue's last contract was a two-year deal at $13 million per year, which is beyond the 49ers' cap capabilities, but he could be persuaded to sign on for less to a roster that's got Super Bowl potential.

The 49ers roster is nearly complete for 2023, but there is room for one last splash signing to give the roster the final kick it needs to finally make the leap from contenders to champions.

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