Still-remaining free agents 49ers can target to bolster defensive line

Let's look at the 49ers' best-available options still out there in free agency for the defensive line

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle D.J. Reader (98)
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle D.J. Reader (98) / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Now that free agency in the NFL is officially underway, the San Francisco 49ers have seen some of their own bodies on the defensive line depart. With many viable options still left to choose from, what are the best fits for the NFC champions?

Arik Armstead is set to be released, Javon Kinlaw and Christian Wilkins have both signed elsewhere. Sebastian Joseph-Day, Kevin Givens and Chase Young all remain unsigned, too.

Defensive tackle is a solid place for 49ers to improve their defensive line.

In terms of a solid and dependable defensive tackle, there is a few to choose from who are looking for a new home. All three names to suggest are 30 years old or younger.

DJ Reader, 29 years old, finished out his contract with the Cincinnati Bengals and is looking for another. He had 20 solo tackles, one sack and a pass deflection for the Bengals in 2023.

Entering his ninth year in the league, Reader is a viable player to fill the void(s) of Joseph-Day and/or Givens. Givens maybe looking for something comparable to defensive tackle Jordan Elliott's new deal with San Francisco for two years, $10 million.

Sheldon Rankins, 29 years old and also entering his ninth NFL season, had a good year for the Houston Telast year. He had 29 solo tackles, six sacks and forced fumble and one recovered, as well.
Rankins even scored his first and only touchdown on a kick return.

A similar deal for two or three years could benefit both parties here.

With Joseph-Day still out there, he is the younger option. He is also already familiar with the 49ers locker room, as well.

Having started the season with the Los Angeles Chargers, he played in the final two regular season games and all three postseason contests. In 2023, he had 19 solo tackles and three sacks.

Defensive end is another position to fill for 49ers

While edge Chase Young is without a home for now, some veteran options are waiting to sign the dotted line, too.

Emmanuel Ogbah and Yannick Ngakoue are among those names.

Though he missed significant time two years ago, Ogbah played in 15 games for the Miami Dolphins in 2023. He recorded 20 total tackles, five sacks, a forced fumble and a pick.

At 6-foot-4' and 278 pounds, Ogbah could pair well with Elliott who is the same height. This tandem can help the 49ers return to the Super Bowl.

Ngakoue is looking for his sixth new team in as many years after four impactful years in Jacksonville with the Jaguars. The 30 year old produced four sacks for the Chicago Bears in 2023. His season sacks average is over seven per year, though. Despite not recording an interception since his days in a Jaguars uniform, Ngakoue is a respected and talented defender.

Again, the incumbent free agent here, Young, is younger and also used to the 49ers' environment. Young played in nine games for the Niners and netted 2.5 sacks.

He had twice as many in his seven games with Washington before being traded midseason. If the money is right, any of these defensive ends can extend San Francisco's title window.

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