INDIANAPOLIS -- A year ago, the 49ers picked up the non-binding fifth-year option on defensive lineman Arik Armstead's contract.
In two weeks, Armstead will be guaranteed his 2019 salary of $9.046 million for being on the team's roster on the first day of the new league year. Coach Kyle Shanahan announced Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that Armstead will have a place on the team.
When asked how difficult it was to make the decision to bring back Armstead on the lucrative one-year deal, Shanahan answered, “I don’t think it was difficult at all.”
Armstead, who's 24 and was the No. 17 overall pick of the 2015 draft from Oregon, appeared in just 30 games during his first three NFL seasons. Last year, he started 16 games for the first time in his career.
“We’re not into losing good players, and he has played very well for us,” Shanahan said. “I think he can take it to a whole ‘nother level and I hope to see him do that this year. If he does, that will be very good for the Niners and very good for him because he’s got the ability to do it.
“He’s already done some very good things for us in these two years. Hopefully, this year he can stay healthier. Hopefully, the addition of changing our style a little on the D-line will help him. And I expect him to get better.”
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The new style on the defensive line, brought by new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, consists of defensive ends lining up wider. The 49ers envision Armstead playing defensive end on run downs, then moving inside to rush the passer on nickel downs.
Armstead recorded career bests last season with three sacks and 48 tackles.