$12 Million 49ers Rusher Among ‘Sneaky Good’ 2023 NFL Free Agents

Samson Ebukam

Getty Marcus Mariota of the Falcons runs into Samson Ebukam of the 49ers on October 16, 2022.

The San Francisco 49ers will soon welcome back a key rotational piece in their trenches, with Samson Ebukam anticipated to play on Sunday, November 27 against the New Orleans Saints.

But could Ebukam, who’s in the final year of his $12 million deal, become an integral piece in 2023 outside of the Bay Area?

There are already analysts and fans thinking about who are some of the appealing early free agent names for the ’23 cycle — as upcoming free agents will aim to finish strong and do enough to win a potential big pay day. And there will be some “sneaky good” free agents for 2023 as written by Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox on Saturday, November 26.

One of them Knox listed happens to be Ebukam himself.


‘He’s Quietly Been Very Good’

The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder has battled injuries during his time at S.F. — including a recent quad injury.

David Lombardi of The Athletic, though, tweeted on Black Friday that Ebukam is on his way back.

Ebukam was the one who helped launch “hunting season” for the 49ers’ defense toward quarterbacks, as he became the first defender to record a sack in 2022.

Knox believes Ebukam’s continued progress and impact on the 49ers should get teams to monitor him, especially those seeking edge rush help for 2023.

“San Francisco 49ers pass-rusher Samson Ebukam has missed the last two games while dealing with quadriceps and Achilles ailments. Teams will want to track him to see if he gets healthy and resumes the strong play he showed early in the season,” Knox said.

Ebukam has played in 318 total defensive snaps this season with the 49ers including 193 in pass rush situations per Pro Football Focus. He may not be a household name like Nick Bosa, or even considered a starter. But Knox recognizes his impact.

“Ebukam has never been a top-tier edge-rusher, but he’s quietly been very good,” Knox wrote. “He logged 4.5 sacks in each of his previous three seasons, two with the Los Angeles Rams and one with the 49ers in 2021.”


Teams Have Tapped Into 49ers DLs Lately

How deep are the 49ers in the trenches?

The moment a team learns a 49er defensive lineman is available via free agency, the money comes out from other teams to lure him in.

Arden Key earned a $4 million deal from the Jacksonville Jaguars after delivering career-best sack totals as a 49er. D.J. Jones signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Denver Broncos after establishing himself as a stout three-technique defender for the Niners. Even Kerry Hyder earned his biggest contract with the Seattle Seahawks at two years worth $6,800,000 after delivering a career-best 8.5 sacks with the 49ers — and has since rejoined S.F.

Again, Ebukam is playing on a loaded defensive line that not only features Bosa, but has seen Hyder, Kevin Givens, Charles Omenihu, Drake Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway all do their part in wrecking havoc in the 49ers’ DL rotation. Ebukam, though, has provided his own set of damage the moment he fires off from his stance.

“Through the first eight weeks of this season, the 27-year-old notched 3.5 sacks to go with 29 tackles and eight quarterback pressures. He did so while largely playing on a rotational basis (63 percent of the defensive snaps),” Knox wrote.

Ebukam has snatched eight sacks in a 49ers uniform per Pro Football Reference. But he’s got a great chance of matching or surpassing his previous season-best sack number of 4.5 plus match his top tackles for a loss total at six in 2018 with seven games left…earning him the “sneaky good free agent” label for the next cycle.

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