SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers are keeping the strongest part of their team together, as they have agreed to a five-year contract with defensive lineman Arik Armstead, the team announced Monday.
The deal is worth $85 million, a source told ESPN, and it includes a $17.5 million signing bonus. There are also $45.85 million in guarantees with $34.165 million fully guaranteed at signing.
Throughout the offseason, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have made it clear that they wanted Armstead to remain with the only NFL team he’s ever known as he approached free agency for the first time.
“Arik is an excellent player,” Lynch said in February. “He had an excellent year. I think everything is on the table. We want to find a way to keep him and make him a part of the 49ers for a long time.”
That’s precisely what the 49ers were able to do. In the process, they avoided having to use the franchise tag, an option the team considered to prevent Armstead from leaving without any sort of compensation.
“I’m excited to continue my career with the 49ers, the organization that gave me a chance by drafting me five years ago,” Armstead said in a statement. “I want to thank the York family, John, Kyle and Paraag for acknowledging what I’ve done, both on and off the field, for this team since 2015. They have given me the platform to give back to my community and play the game I love at the highest level, and I am just getting started.”
The franchise tag would have provided Armstead, 26, a one-year tender offer that would have paid him nearly $18 million for the season. It also meant the Niners would have had until July 15 to get a deal done with Armstead or perhaps trade him.
In the days following the Super Bowl LIV loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Armstead indicated that he’d be OK with playing under the tag if it happened.
“I would love being here,” Armstead said then. “Trying to go back to the Super Bowl, so however that is seen or has to get done, it’s not really my decision what they want to do with me.”
Instead, he was able to work out a deal with the team that drafted him 17th overall in 2015. The Sacramento native told ESPN in December that he “can’t even imagine” playing somewhere else.
With his hometown about two hours away, Armstead’s circle of family and friends is nearby, he’s played all five of his NFL seasons with the Niners.
This past season, Armstead finished with 54 tackles, 10 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery while starting all 16 games for the second time in his career. Those 10 sacks led the Niners and were one more than he had in his first four seasons combined.
That production carried over into the postseason, where he had eight tackles, two sacks and forced a fumble in three games. Armstead is one of the league’s best and most versatile run defenders, capable of playing on the edge on early downs and moving inside in obvious passing situations.
With Armstead taken care of, the 49ers are expected to begin working on an extension with tight end George Kittle, who’s entering the final year of his rookie contracts. They can also monitor the market for more of their own free agents, such as safety Jimmie Ward and receiver Emmanuel Sanders.