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49ers are Releasing Arik Armstead

In a surprising move, the 49ers are going to release Arik Armstead ahead of free agency. Here is why they are doing so.

The longest tenured player on the team no longer.

Nine year veteran Arik Armstead will become a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers releasing him, per Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report.

Releasing Armstead comes as a massive surprise. He has been an integral part of the 49ers' defensive line, especially as a run defender. Not to mention that the defensive line is looking thin as the 49ers enter free agency.

However, it appears the 49ers wanted Armstead to take a pay cut. According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, the 49ers asked Armstead to take a pay cut in order to stay on the team. He was set to make $17.41 million this upcoming season. Armstead refused to take it and elected to become a free agent instead. 

Armstead had a $28.3 million cap hit for the 49ers with $25.8 million in dead money. Releasing Armstead is most likely a post-June 1st cut. That way the 49ers can split the dead money instead of taking it all at once for this year.

As a result of Armstead's release, the 49ers will save $18.26 million. It won't play a significant factor for the 49ers reeling in free agents. But it does help them with transactions in the summer like getting an extension done with Brandon Aiyuk. That timeframe just so happens to be when the 49ers execute extensions. 

Money aside, this is a wise move for the 49ers big picture wise. Armstead is going to be 31 years old when the 2024 regular season arrives. His body is also clearly breaking down. No longer is he someone the 49ers can depend on, which is likely part of why they approached him on taking that pay cut. He isn't worth that salary anymore due to availability.

I'd expect the 49ers to fill his void in the draft or maybe go for a swing in free agency.