Report: 49ers release DT Darnell Dockett

The 49ers have released veteran defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, according to Matt Maiocco of San Francisco signed Dockett this offseason to a two-year, $7.5-million contract with $2 million guaranteed. Oops.

Dockett, 34, missed most of the offseason as he recovered from a torn ACL he suffered last August.  During the preseason, he played 16 snaps — four against the Dallas Cowboys, 12 against the Denver Broncos. Then he suffered a rib injury and missed the final preseason game against the Chargers.

This move is good news for rookie defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who now has an opportunity to play in the sub-packages as an interior pass rusher.

This article has 167 Comments

  1. Yep, an expensive insurance policy in case Armstead did not live up to the scouting report. I thought Armstead looked really good Thursday evening….

    1. Agreed. Baalke also signs FAs to give him draft flexibility. If a team offered the world for pick 15 he could say yes.

      I also think it was a bit of a “win now” move, because Aldon and Brooks were still on the team. Not saying Baalke’s giving up on the season, but the 49ers might actually be in true a rebuilding mindset after the departures of their starting edge rushers.

      1. Agreed! This is a rebuilding year while also maintaining the 49ers recent winning tradition. Alas, a winning year is always 500 or better, i.e. records of 8-8 and 9-7 without making the playoffs are still considered winning seasons. During this time, the youth movement will assert itself. Sadly, Dockett had seemed highly motivated to take vengeance upon his old team in AZ. For that, I was excited to see how he plays. Equally sad, he is old and feeling the aches of a career in football. Doesn’t have much, if anything left. The one reason I don’t mind seeing him take a hike is his mindless stance against police and the B.S. Hands-up movement. Anyone who is incapable (or simply refuses) to weight facts against emotion is a waste of space in this world as well as on a rebuilding football team.





        1. Grant,

          Please feel free to pass this info. on the niner mangagement for all of us like minded 49er fans.

          Thank you, from Niner Nation

      2. I like your plan. We quietly trade away Colin Kaepernick for draft picks, then we grow our own QB with expert handlers and coaches. The only think I don’t agree with your plan is its delivery. I.e., please cease writing with the CAPITAL LETTERS.

        1. Chip would be drooling just thinking about the possibility of getting Kaep. Jed is not so stupid as to get rid of his franchise QB.
          Oh wait, maybe I am giving Jed too much credit.

    3. The move itself makes sense, but I didn’t think they’d eat 2 mill to make it happen. There is some language in his contract that reduces the 2 mill by whatever his salary is if he signs with another team.

        1. Wrong. Every dollar Darnell Dockett earns up to his $2M guarantee is refunded to the 49ers. They are out his $500 thousand signing bonus. If Darnell doesn’t play, the 49ers are out the full $2M plus the bonus.

  2. Yep, an expensive insurance policy in case Armstead did not live up to the scouting report. I thought Armstead looked really good Thursday evening….

  3. Grant

    Did you intentionally steal Kawakami’s quote on the Dockett signing? I don’t think the team should have any regrets over checking him out. He has always terrorized the Niners and they didn’t know what he had left in the tank. Good signing. Also a good sign that, unlike Harbaugh, Tomsula is comfortable cutting veterans in favor of young talent. This is good news all around.

          1. Scroll down and see what others wrote, but basically, it is a group effort, with Baalke pulling the trigger as the final decision maker.

  4. Grant, you called it. If Armstead was to get snaps this year, it could be in pass rush situations. He had a sweet interior swim move last night.

      1. I think he will need to get stronger to match his last night’s performance against first-string players. But he is and will be on the right track with Tomsula and Brown.

  5. I hear that Niners get back the $2M guaranteed money if Dockett is picked up by another team this season.

    With Dockett gone, all the Niner players are 30 years of age or under (I think Dorsey is 30). Youth movement is in full swing. If several of these folks on rookie contracts do well, I expect them to be signed to longer contracts in the next 6 months,

    It was an expensive insurance premium, but the policy was needed at that time. The combo of the cracked rib cartilage injury (painful to play with, and will take longer to heal for a 34-year old), and the emergence of younger players (including Armstead in the draft) made it difficult for Baalke not to make this move.

    1. It was a fine move by TB, but I don’t know if you’re correct about the guaranteed $. When he signed Dockett he didn’t know about AA, and certainly Purcell has been like a different guy this year. TJE has played hard to match the competition he’s facing, and Dockett didn’t really show much in camp. Darnell has his cash, he’ll be OK.

          1. Yeah, but I should have read the article more carefully. There’s a possibility that Dockett could file an injury grievance if he doesn’t land with another team. Players can’t be cut when they are hurt. Perhaps that’s the reason Dockett made the injury known online and Tomsula tried to downplay it as a cartilage issue.

            1. I’d think that Dockett’s agent will work with the Niners on an injury settlement if that’s the issue. Probably another 500K or so. I think he was due 250K if he was on the roster next Monday.

  6. Phillip Wheeler seems to be out. That’s good news for Skov. I think either Bishop or Wheeler will be available during the season if needed.

  7. Guys – We signed Dockett on March 5th well before the NFL draft. Once we landed Armstead in the First round and he played well, DD became expendable. This is testament to a young deep and talent Defensive line group.

  8. Having been born in Sydney, this is AWESOME news:

    @MaioccoCSN – Not a surprise, of course, but I’m hearing things are looking very, very good for Jarryd Hayne sticking on 49ers’ 53-man roster.

  9. Huh?

    Jim TrotterVerified account
    I’ll just say this: The chatter coming from the 49ers locker room is not good. At all.

    1. Cam Inman ‏@CamInman 22m22 minutes ago
      Cam Inman retweeted Jim Trotter
      This surprises me somewhat. So many young players now with no reason to complain. Ousted vets may have gripes though

      1. Inman again:
        Not saying Jim is false. He knows NFL matters & 49ers well. Team has had chaotic 2015 so mixed feelings still abound

          1. Trotter never said.

            Chris Biderman @ChrisBiderman
            Could be because the 49ers are having a “full practice” the day after a game..

    2. Well, cut down day will be emotional for a lot of players. Such huge disappointments will generate some hurt feelings. Hope the remaining players can gel into a Band of Brothers.

  10. Nice to see some of the young guys stand out in the game last night.

    Ellington, White and Davis, all had strong games and it bodes well for the team going forward.

    Hunter has probably played his final game as a 49er which is unfortunate. Achilles and Knee injuries within a 3 year span appear to have taken his burst away.

    Still concerned about the Oline. Not a lot of quality here and even less combined with experience. This is going to be the teams biggest issue this year imo.

    Great catch by Busta Anderson, but not enough to make the squad imo. I think they like him but he hasn’t stood out enough to warrant making it ahead of Celek.

    Kenneth Acker will be starting opposite Brock – if Brock can actually play that is – and has had an excellent preseason.

    The Niners have a great depth chart at S now and in the future.

    Real thing starts now.

    1. I think Hunter may just need another year to get his burst back. Pretty typical of ACL injuries. Of course this doesn’t help him or the 49ers right now.

    2. I think the best part was they sat Kaep so he couldn’t embarrass himself anymore.

      C’mon it’s Friday! A slow news day!

      Ellington looks like he’s ready. Hyde is too. If Ward shapes up to be a decent safety then it was a good draft last year.

      They lost alot of pieces that seem irreplacable, but if other plays step up in other positions, then maybe it could be a wash.

      Team does look like it will be middle of the pack. Maybe surprise a few teams and get some unexpected wins, but also blow a few games. Has the makings of a 7-9 type season.

    3. I beg to differ. Busta gives the Niners a weapon that could help them score in the red zone. looks like he will elevate and out jump the DBs.
      Busta looks too good to clear waivers.

      1. I concur. Celek has barely made the roster the past two seasons. Busta has VD type speed but actually runs routes and oh my goodness, catches the ball WITH HIS HANDS.
        I think Anderson stays as VD is allowed to walk next season.

      2. It’s possible they keep Anderson over Celek, but Celek is the better blocker and they already have a rookie they will keep in Bell. They have to look at Injury scenarios when deciding on who makes the final 53.

        1. I think I would keep Busta and his upside over Celek and his ceiling. Do I think Baalke agrees? Could be, but probably not….

  11. Tim Kawakami ✔ @timkawakami
    Weeks ago, NFL source told me if Jimmie Ward counts as a safety–not a slot DB–on the roster, it could have major roster implications.

    1. That makes sense in Mangini’s new offensive scheme. If they are going to play with three safeties more often then they’ll need more on the roster.

  12. Not a big deal for us, but u know it’s one more negative topic for the media to feed off of. “Another veteran lost, what will they do, how will they replace that talent, they have no one!!!!”

  13. I think this is such a positive thing. They didn’t want to cut docket. They didn’t want to possibly eat 2 million. So they wanted to keep younger talent even at that cost. Think it shows how much tomsula believes in what we have at DL

          1. I agree. I think people aren’t familiar with how the GM coach relationship and decision making goes down. I am sure the coaches provide feedback on what players they want and the GM has to manage the everything else including the final decision.

            1. Baalke is responsible for the five (or four) year plan, where the coaches are paid to win the next game. If a coaches immediate needs match Baalke’s long range plan then he would probably accommodate those needs. If a Superbowl is seen as within their grasp, Baalke might go even further.

              1. I think Baalke will ask what Tomsula wants, then goes out to get them. In the draft it sounded like Tomsula had strong input, and AA was a Tomsula choice because Tomsula was the D line coach before becoming the HC.
                You really cant plan 5 years ahead because things change so quickly. Look at this year. Tons of turnover. They do not know who will be eligible for next years draft, much less 4 o 5 years down the road. There may be a 5 year play, but personnel is a yearly process.

  14. I am sorry that DD was cut. He gave the D line some veteran presence, but it sounds like his knee just was not 100%, and the rib injury set him back, too. Wish him well.

  15. Matt Maiocco ✔ @MaioccoCSN
    Source: #49ers have informed G/C Joe Looney of his release. He was the final player for the team’s 2012 draft class.

      1. Silberman? I think you posted earlier about the 49ers looking to add more OL depth, so it’s starting to look like that will be the case.

        1. Yeah I was hoping they’d look for some new talent and I wondered about Farrell but couldn’t remember if he was still on the team or not. Haven’t heard his name much lately.

        1. Looks like Maiocco agrees with you.

          Matt Maiocco ✔ @MaioccoCSN
          The #49ers release of Joe Looney, I would think, means good things for Dillon Farrell, who can play center and both guard spots.

        2. But Barrows:

          Matt Barrows ✔ @mattbarrows
          #49ers’ release of Joe Looney (h/t @MaioccoCSN ) means Ian Silberman likely in uniform on game days, Can play center and guard.

      2. Has to be Farrell. Silberman has been pretty bad. Maybe they see enough to warrant developing but it hasn’t shown up in the games.

  16. Rb’s are a dime a dozen. I wish we had traded Hunter at the beginning of the preseason. I suspect Dallas will pick him up from the wire. I think he fits their scheme and their backs are struggling.

      1. I thought Grant was touting Oakland’s running game and their backs as equal to the 49ers. He may have a tough time finding work with two major injuries.

          1. Wheeler was touted as a ST ace. Thought that meant he would be a gunner. White is a WR, and not great on tackling, IMO.
            Hayne and McCray would be my best guess for gunners.

            1. You’re confusing Wheeler with Nick Bellore who came from the Jets. He is a special teams ace. Gunners are the guys who get down the field the fastest on the outsides. Bellore wracks up tackles on ST’s. Wheeler came from MN I believe or probably Miami. Bishop may have come from MN.

              1. Easy to do, we had Bishop, Wheeler, Bellore and another former Patriots ILB sign this year. That’s a lot to keep track of.

  17. The end of the horrible 2012 draft class with Looney cut. Baalke looks really bad for this. 3 years out of a draft with so many picks and none are now on the team. No more of these Trent, or you’re going to mutually agree to leave SF, too.

    1. No kidding. 2012 will go down as one of the49ers worst drafts. The good news is that, if ever there was a year to have a poor draft, 2012 was the year. The 49ers roster was absolutely stacked going into 2012, top to bottom, with very little room for rookies to land a roster spot. That season we had one of the deepest rosters in team history, IMO.

  18. The Class of 2012:

    “Joe Looney was informed of his release, ,,, The 49ers selected him in the fourth round of the ’12 draft – a class that also included A.J. Jenkins, LaMichael James, Darius Fleming, Trenton Robinson, Jason Slowey and Cam Johnson.”

    Where have you gone?

    1. Each one or the players were in TC in various teams till this week. Let’s see how many make the final 53. I notice a few fans complain incessantly about the bad draft of 2012. But if a team drafts well, and makes starters out of their lower round drafts, then they will have to let go of other picks in higher rounds in other years. It’s a 53-sum game. A couple of appropriate evaluation metrics would be (a) how many of the picks end up playing in the league for 4+ years (average NFL player life time is 4), (b) how many FAs are retained by the team. 2012 was a bad year for the Niners, but could be a decent year for a bad team like the Jaguars.

      1. Good point. Not to mention, the 49ers roster was absolutely loaded going into 2012. Not much room for rookies anyways. I’m giving Baalke a pass on the draft class because, I think he realized he was going to have to find “niche” players in the draft, and took some gambles, i.e. LaMichael James. If my memory serves me, bothe Fleming and Robinson experienced serious injuries during training camp or preseason and Cam Johnson was coming off of injury. Of course, that draft will always be remembered for first round draft bust, AJ Jenkins, and Baalke doesn’t get a pass for that world-class bust of a draft pick.

    2. so the net result of the 2012 draft is a 7th round pick for Cam Johnson?

      maybe Baalke should just build the team through undrafted free agents? that year Tony Jerrod-Eddie and Garret Celek were signed as UDFAs. at least those guys are still on the team (though Eddie might be released or traded).

      1. Another method might be the one the Seahags used this year. Trade a 1st round pick for one of the top players at a position of high need. Of course, it will include a good-sized salary cap number. We’ll see how that works out for the chickens. This strategy doesn’t really fit Baalke’s MO, but it is a strategy.

        1. I should have added, that this strategy is probably only worth considering if you really believe that one added player will push the team over the hump to win the SB.

        1. About time. Unfortunately, that release is a dead money hit of 933,334

          So just between him and Docket the team is at 2,933,334 in dead money. The Joe Looney cut was relatively cheap,106,301. That is over 3 million in dead cap money. There is a possibility money will come back for Docket, but unlikely. He is still injured and probably wouldn’t pass a physical at this point.

    1. Dong-dong the Dahl is gone. Church bells ring throughout the kingdom!

      Seriously, he made the decision difficult by playing well the last two games of 2014 and having a great camp. He’ll land on his feet somewhere.

  19. Any analysis of Tony Jerod-Eddie playing left outside linebacker in the first half of the last game?

    Kindly inform on how he looked..

  20. Dahl – “I would like to thank the 49ers, my teammates and the Faithful for the opportunity to live out my dream for the past 2 seasons. The enjoyment you brought my family and I has been something we will never forget. I’m forever grateful of your support.”

    Great exit. I think he’ll find a safety or special teams gig somewhere.

    1. Oakland’s Lamarcus Russel draft. Dont know about the other players, but he was the number one pick and flamed out spectacularly.

      1. Grant, really liked the SI piece.

        I think the NFL should factor regional COLA and state taxes into the salary cap.

        NY and California are federal tax revenue exporters. We are forced to make up for the losses with higher local state taxes and fees. That + expensive housing makes it harder to sign or retain free agents.

  21. Another possibility… Dockett signed with the 49ers with the idea he’d have book-ends Aldon Smith on one side and Brooks/Lynch on the other. He’d be part of a killer pass rush. The “playoff window” was not fully closed. A great way to finish a career.

    After Aldon’s and Brooks (likely) departure his enthusiasm noticeably began to wane. He basically fired himself. Baalke just did the paperwork.

    1. More likely, the injury imp and father time caught up with him. 34 is old for a healthy pass rusher. One legged pass rushers lack that hop- to -itness.

  22. Let’s play a game. Hindsight 2012 Draft.

    The guys SF could have had without trading up or down or acquiring more picks:

    1 – Alshon Jeffrey (can’t believe Johnnie Morton and Baalke preferred Jenkins to him)

    2 – T.Y.Hilton – banged the drum for him since my brother worked at FIU or alternatively for the non-fans of Kap…

    2 – Russell Wilson – wouldn’t that be an intriguing camp battle?

    4 – Brandon Boykin – hello slot CB

    5 – Alfred Morris – him plus Gore, wow

    6 – Danny Trevathan – help LB depth

    6 – Emmanuel Acho – see above

    7 – Darryl Richardson – Team loves to draft RBs

    Most of these players would still be on the team and weren’t selected for some reason, but wow, what a team it could have been and should have ended up with the Super Bowl trophy.

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