SANTA CLARA -- Defensive lineman Arik Armstead is situated to become the highest-paid player among the 49ers’ scheduled free agents.

General manager John Lynch intimated on Thursday the 49ers’ goal this offseason is to work out a multi-year contract extension, rather than merely placing the franchise tag on Armstead to retain him on a one-year contract.

Lynch said nothing has been ruled out.

“Arik is an excellent player,” Lynche said on Thursday. “He had an excellent year. I think everything is on the table. We want to find a way to keep him and make him a part of the 49ers for a long time.”

The 49ers have sole negotiating rights with Armstead until March 16.

Armstead, 26, is coming off the best season of his six-year career. He started all 19 games and led the 49ers in regular-season sacks with 10. He added two more sacks in the playoffs.

Armstead is particularly valuable to the 49ers because of his play against the run as a defensive end on first and second downs before he moves inside to rush the passer in the 49ers’ nickel defense.

[RELATED: Arik Armstead open to 49ers using franchise tag on him, wants to stay]

A first-round draft pick in 2015, Armstead earned $9 million this season on the fifth-year option. It would cost the 49ers approximately $18 million to retain him on the franchise tag.

 

With the $7.9 million in unused salary cap space from 2019, the 49ers head into the offseason projected to be less than $21 million under the 2020 cap.