Former 49ers DL Arik Armstead Finds New Home in AFC: Report

Former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead

Getty Former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead

The San Francisco 49ers turned heads when they released Arik Armstead before the free agency window, and now he’s joining the Jacksonville Jaguars. Armstead spent 9 seasons with the 49ers, and his switch to the Jaguars will be the first of his NFL career.

The signing was first reported by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport on March 14.

“A dark horse emerges: The #Jaguars are closing in on a deal to add a huge presence to their defense, as they are set to sign former #49ers DT Arik Armstead, sources say,” Rapoport wrote on X.

Armstead had a slow burn to start his NFL career, but grew into a vital piece of the 49ers franchise over the past 5 years. But the 49ers needed cap space and had made additions to the defensive line like Javon Hargrave, so the financials called for Armstead’s release.

NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco reported that San Francisco attempted to keep Armstead on a pay cut. But the 30-year-old and the 49ers could not agree to terms, and now they’re preparing for life after Armstead.

AFC South Race for Arik Armstead

Someone of Armstead’s caliber was going to draw interest, but apparently, the entire AFC South wanted his signature. According to The Athletic reporter Dianna Russini, the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans were all interested.

“Arik Armstead was in discussions with several teams including the Bills and Titans. In fact the 49ers and Texans had a player-for-player deal in place — Armstead for Collins — but it fell apart after the Texans agreed to terms with edge rusher Danielle Hunter, sources tell me and @mattbarrows,” Russini wrote on X on March 14.

In retrospect, 49ers fans probably wish that the Armstead/Maliek Collins trade had gone through. It wouldn’t have saved the 49ers more than a seventh-round pick, but value is value.

Instead, the Jaguars are the lucky team that were able to follow up with Armstead. Instead of cheering him on, the Texans will have to line up against him twice a season going forward.

49ers DT Leaving After 9 Seasons

Back in 2015, the 49ers took Armstead as the 17th overall pick out of Oregon in the 2015 NFL draft. Immediately, there were high expectations for Armstead as his 6’7″, 290-pound frame and college production pointed toward a long and fruitful career.

But after a backup role in 2015, he missed 18 of 32 possible games in 2016 and 2017 due to a shoulder injury and then a broken hand. Armstead’s talent was apparent, but he was struggling to stay healthy.

2018 saw him get back on the field full-time, but 2019 was where Armstead hit his stride. During that season, the former Duck totaled 10 sacks, two forced fumbles and two passes defended according to Pro Football Reference.

The 49ers responded by paying him a five-year, $85 million deal. Over the next two seasons, Armstead would total rack up 9.5 total sacks, 3 passes defended and 13 total tackles for loss.

While injuries did play a factor in 2022 and 2023, his 2023 season was encouraging. In 12 regular season appearances, he totaled 5 sacks and 4 tackles for loss. In the 2024 Super Bowl, he made 6 tackles and earned 1 sack.

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