49ers

Report: 'Nothing there' with Matthews, 49ers after injuries

49ers

The 49ers will be without a whole lot of pass-rushing production Sunday against the New York Giants.

Edge rusher Nick Bosa (eight sacks in 2019) is out for the remainder of the season after sustaining a torn ACL last week. Dee Ford (6.5 sacks) reportedly is out in Week 3 with no timetable for his return, while defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (7.5 sacks) will play his third game with the Indianapolis Colts after being traded this offseason. Those three accounted for nearly half of the 49ers' 48 sacks a season ago, powering San Francisco's defensive resurgence.

The 49ers signed defensive end Ziggy Ansah earlier this week, and they hope rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw -- Buckner's nominal replacement -- can continue to improve. But the 49ers undoubtedly are thinner up front on defense heading into Week 3 than they were before Week 3, so is it possible they're not quite done looking at free agents?

If they're not, they reportedly won't turn to veteran Clay Matthews. The Athletic's Matt Barrows wrote in a mailbag Tuesday that, as of Tuesday morning, there was "nothing there" between the 49ers and Matthews.

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Matthews, 34, has plenty of pedigree. He racked up eight sacks in 13 games with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019, his most since 2014 (11.0). Matthews made six Pro Bowls in a decade with the Green Bay Packers, recording 83.5 sacks in 143 games.

 

Barrows argued that Matthews would be "as ideal as you're going to get in late September" to fill Ford's role as a nickel pass rusher, even though Matthews would be the 49ers' oldest defender were he to sign. Other unsigned, experienced players like Terrell Suggs (37 years old) and Cameron Wake (38) are even older, and younger players like Jabaal Sheard (31) aren't as accomplished.

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The 49ers can afford to take a wait-and-see approach on Ford's injury. Their next three opponents -- the Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins -- currently are a combined 0-6, and the 49ers should be confident in their depth during this stretch.

But the schedule looks a lot more daunting after that, and the 49ers might have little choice to change their tune on Matthews if Ford's injury persists. As the first two weeks of the 49ers' season have shown, adversity can present itself just about any time.