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Nick Wagoner says 49ers could look at two veteran pass rushers in free agency



© Gary A. Vasquez | 2019 Nov 17

It would be comical if it wasn’t so brutal.

The 49ers are believed to have lost another defensive end to a season ending injury on Sunday night. Ansah left the game and did not return with what appeared to be a torn biceps. Ezekiel Ansah was signed by the 49ers two weeks ago to help replace their two other defensive ends, Nick Bosa who is out for the season with a torn ACL and Dee Ford who is on injured reserve until at least Week 7 with a back/neck issue.

Now the 49ers will have to add again, scrambling to find some sort of solution on the edge as their season begins to teeter. ESPN 49ers beat writer Nick Wagoner broke down what some of those solutions could be, including two household names, when he joined Murph & Mac on Monday.

“They are definitely going to have to add another body whether it’s a practice squad guy like Alex Barrett who’s bounced back and forth on the roster multiple times during the preseason, but has a little bit of experience,” Wagoner began. “Or they go looking for maybe a guy who is still out there who has a lot of tread off the tires like a Clay Matthews or a Cameron Wake. Cameron Wake actually had some time with Kris Kocurek in Miami, so there’s some familiarity there.”

Wake and Matthews have been to a combined 11 Pro Bowls, but both find themselves on the market in the wake of season ending injuries in 2019. Wake, 38, is the older of the two and was relegated to just 2.5 sacks in nine games with Tennessee thanks to a hamstring issue last season. Wake’s 100.5 career sacks are 31st all time. He notched six in 2018 and 10.5 in 2017 with Miami.

Matthews, 34, is less of a pass rush specialist than Wake is, but still has 91.5 career sacks to his name. He notched eight last year with the Rams in 13 games before breaking his jaw.

“They’re going to have to do something. Everybody knows pass rushers are important in the league, but the Niners have invested so much into that, that was such a point of emphasis for them when they got Dee Ford, when they drafted Nick Bosa, that when you lose it, it shows up all the time. It really shows up when you face quarterbacks like Carson Wentz, who’s a good athlete, but he’s not Kyler Murray. If you have guys like Ford and Bosa he’s not going to get away as quickly and easily as he did last night. So the inability to close out some games is certainly something that can be directly traced to a lack of difference making edge rushers.

“It was a couple years ago, and you’re starting to see it already this year.”

Listen to the full interview below.