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Arden Key is the 49ers' Second-Best Pass Rusher

The 49ers signed Key to be a backup pass rusher, not their No. 2 sack threat.
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The 49ers' best pass rusher is Nick Bosa. No surprise.

But their second-best pass rusher is Arden Key, and that's extremely surprising. The 49ers signed him this offseason to a one-year deal worth roughly $1 million. He's a 25-year-old former third-round pick whom the Las Vegas Raiders gave up on.

The 49ers signed Key to be a backup pass rusher, not their No. 2 sack threat. The No. 2 threat was supposed to be Dee Ford, whom the 49ers have paid $37.7 million since they traded for him in 2019. And Ford is a terrific pass rusher when healthy. Unfortunately for him and the 49ers, he's rarely healthy, and currently is on the Injured Reserve list. So he doesn't count.

After him, the next best pass rusher on the team is supposed to be Arik Armstead, whom the 49ers have paid $46.3 million since they drafted him in 2015. But Armstead is more of a run defender than a pass rusher. In 10 games this season, he has played 468 snaps, but recorded only 2 sacks and just 3 quarterback hits.

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Compare Armstead to Key, who has played just 219 snaps this season, but has recorded 3 sacks and 6 quarterback hits. Not huge numbers, but impressive when you consider all three of Key's sacks have come in the past three games. Which means he's improving. As opposed to Armstead, who is what he is -- a non-pass-rusher.

Key was one of the 49ers' best signings of the year. The should re-sign him as soon as possible.