Cassius Marsh

NFL free agency: Seahawks sign Cassius Marsh after 49ers released him

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USATSI

NFL free agency: Seahawks sign Cassius Marsh after 49ers released him

The Seattle Seahawks signed former 49ers defensive end Cassius Marsh to a one-year deal Thursday, the team announced. 

Seattle drafted the UCLA product in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. Marsh played with the Seahawks for three seasons, and was traded to the New England Patriots in September 2017. 

The Patriots waived him a little over two months later, and the 49ers claimed him on Nov. 22, 2017.  Last month, the 49ers picked up a non-binding option on Marsh's two-year contract, only to release him a week later after trading for Dee Ford. 

Marsh accumulated 7.5 of his 11.5 career sacks with the 49ers, including 5.5 last season. He has also forced four fumbles, tallied 23 quarterback hits and 18 tackles for a loss in five NFL seasons. 

The move back to Seattle is welcomed by Marsh and his fiancée who just gave birth to their first child. 

“It’s a special place for sure,” Marsh told Seahawks.com. “There’s a lot of positives things about coming back here—my girl, her parents are from here, it’s where she’s from. We just had a child, so having that support is huge for us. There’s just a lot of positivity around coming back here. I’m pretty pumped.” 

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Marsh received a bit of criticism from New England fans when he criticized the “Patriot Way” in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. By contrast, he said he was appreciative of the 49ers and Seahawks' locker-room chemistry. 

“I personally developed some bonds that will last me the rest of my life,” Marsh said of first run with Seattle. “There’s a lot of guys I played with here who I stayed in contact with and I really love as brothers, so it means a lot to come back to where I started. I love this fanbase and the coaches.” 

49ers release defensive end Cassius Marsh after trading for Dee Ford

49ers release defensive end Cassius Marsh after trading for Dee Ford

The 49ers on Friday released defensive end Cassius Marsh, who tied for second on the team last season with 5.5 sacks.

The move to part ways with Marsh coincides with the club’s acquisition of edge rusher Dee Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. Marsh was one of the 49ers' primary edge rushers last season, but the club set out at the beginning of the new leauge year in a quest to make an upgrade at that position.

The 49ers are expected to also try to improve their outside pass rush in the draft.

The 49ers signed Marsh last year to a two-year, $7.7 million contract. He ended up getting paid $3.1 million for the 2018 season. The 49ers picked up a non-binding option on his contract last week.

Marsh released a statement on social media:

[RELATED: DeForest Buckner's reaction to 49ers' Dee Ford acquisition]

In 68 NFL games since breaking into the league in 2014 with the Seattle Seahawks, Marsh recorded 11.5 sacks. The claimed off waivers on Nov. 22, 2017, after the New England Patriots waived him.

49ers look to add veteran edge rusher in free agency before NFL draft

49ers look to add veteran edge rusher in free agency before NFL draft

The free-agent signing period begins Wednesday at 1 p.m. This is Part Four of a series that examines the 49ers’ biggest offseason needs and their options in free agency.

The 49ers used the first hours of the open negotiating period to fill a need at inside linebacker.

They remain in pursuit of a veteran edge rusher.

DeForest Buckner supplied the 49ers last season with their first legitimate pass-rush threat since the days of Aldon Smith.

Buckner has things handled on the inside. Now, the 49ers need to add upgrades on the outside via free agency and the draft. The 49ers’ top edge rushers last season were Ronald Blair and Cassius Marsh, who recorded 5.5 sacks apiece.

An upgrade at edge rusher would have an impact throughout the 49ers’ defense. The 49ers managed an NFL-record-worst two interceptions last season. Opposing quarterbacks were rarely rushed into bad decisions and poor throws.

On the roster

Cassius Marsh, Ronald Blair, Pita Taumoepenu, Dekoda Watson

On the market

Considering the 49ers are so thin at edge rusher, there should be plenty of options available in free agency who can provide the team with upgrades.

The 49ers figure to have interest in Ziggy Ansah, whom 49ers executive Martin Mayhew selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft as general manager of the Detroit Lions. Moreover, new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek worked with Ansah. A six-year veteran, Ansah has been plagued by injuries. But in 2015 and ’17, when he was mostly healthy, Ansah recorded 14.5 and 12 sacks.

Justin Houston, 30, recorded 9.5 and nine sacks the past two seasons. In 2014, he had 22 sacks. The Kansas City Chiefs announced Houston's release Sunday after failing to find a trade partner.

Of course, there is such a premium for pass-rushers that many of the top performers are already off the market. Demarcus Lawrence (Dallas), Jadeveon Clowney (Houston), Dee Ford (Kansas City) and Frank Clark (Seattle) were tagged as franchise players. Brandon Graham (Philadelphia) and Dante Fowler (L.A. Rams) were signed to extensions before the start of the open negotiating period. During the opening negotiating period, Trey Flowers and Terrell Suggs reportedly reached contract agreements with Detroit and Arizona, respectively. The Packers added Preston Smith (Washington) and Za'Darius Smith (Baltimore).

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Offseason approach

The 49ers do not have a need to add just one edge rusher. The 49ers need multiple edge rushers. One of those edge rushers is likely to come in free agency. Then, the 49ers will have the opportunity to select either Nick Bosa or Josh Allen with the No. 2 overall draft pick.