Ranking 49ers' 5 biggest head-scratching moves from 2023 offseason

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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49ers head-scratching move No. 4: Giving Clelin Ferrell $1.24 million in guaranteed money

The Niners have had luck with reclamation projects on the defensive line. In 2020, defensive end Kerry Hyder went from a rotational player into San Francisco's leading sack-getter, setting a career-best mark with 8.5 sacks. Then, in 2021, the 49ers helped reinvigorate EDGE Arden Key's career, and he responded with 6.5 sacks and turned that into a nice free-agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022. Then, in 2022, defensive end Charles Omenihu emerged out of nowhere and enjoyed a six-sack campaign himself.

Now, the Niners hope to do the same with two other castoff defensive linemen, Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell.

It's the latter for whom we have concerns. Perhaps not with the underachievement he previously had with the Las Vegas Raiders after being a flamed-out first-round NFL Draft pick.

No, it's the contract.

Ferrell, the fourth overall pick from the 2019 draft by the Raiders, has just 10 sacks over four years and has been relegated to a rotational player. While that's fine, and San Francisco can hope to get the best out of him in a new context, giving him a one-year deal worth up to $2.46 million with $1.24 million guaranteed is quite hefty.

If Ferrell struggles in training camp and the preseason, it'll be tough for San Francisco to part ways with him.