INDIANAPOLIS -- Arik Armstead will remain with the San Francisco 49ers in 2019. The team already picked up Armstead's fifth-year option last April, but the 49ers have until March 13 to make a final decision. It turns out that San Francisco has already made up its mind.
Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday that they are "full go" on Armstead in 2019. The defensive lineman posted 48 tackles and three sacks last season while excelling against the run. Most importantly, Armstead started all 16 games and kept a clean bill of health after playing in just 14 games throughout 2016-17. Retaining Armstead sounded like a fairly simple decision for the 49ers that didn't require much deliberation.
"I don't think it was difficult at all," Shanahan said from the NFL Combine. "We're not into losing good players. He played very well for us. I think he can take it to another level, and I hope to see him do that this year. If he can do that, it's going to be very good for the Niners and very good for him. He's got the ability to do it. He's already done some very good things for us."
That's similar to the logic San Francisco used when picking up Jimmie Ward's fifth-year option last season. The 49ers aren't up against the cap, and so it doesn't make sense to let a contributing player walk out of the building.
New defensive line coach Kris Kocurek will make small tweaks to the scheme along the defensive line. Shanahan hinted at the 49ers using more Wide-9 concepts. According to Shanahan, Armstead is likely to be used as an outside rusher on run downs and as an inside rusher on pass downs. The same goes for Solomon Thomas.
"We wanted to bring in something different in terms of pass rush and getting off the ball," Shanahan said of the Kocurek hire. "That's something Kris has excelled in, and I think it will match up well with the rest of our (defense)."