There is no question that the San Francisco 49ers need more help along the defensive line. A unit that was once stacked with two stalwarts setting the edge with starters DE Ray McDonald and DE Justin Smith, the 49ers now need reinforcements as the team could be without both of them in 2015.
[Related: 49ers’ had enough, release DE Ray McDonald]
The 49ers already released McDonald back on Dec. 17 due to his numerous off-field issues but now they may be without Smith as well.
The player known as ‘Cowboy’ is pondering retirement despite routinely working out at the team’s facility this off-season. And with Smith’s best days behind him, the 49ers need more depth and thus will bring back a familiar face for a visit with DE Ricky Jean-Francois according to CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco.
Jean-Francois is very familiar with new 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula as he played for the 49ers from 2009-2012 before leaving as a free-agent in 2013 for the Indianapolis Colts.
During his time in San Francisco, RJF was a key member along the defensive line as he was a serviceable backup despite being a seventh-round draft pick (No. 244). Known for his brute strength and the ability to hold the point of attack–made RJF a trusted rotational player.
Now, that RJF is a free-agent as he was released from his contract, it seems as though he will be on the 49ers short-list as he already has familiarity with the organization.
Will RJF be a starter if he’s signed? I highly doubt it as DE Tank Carradine and DE Quinton Dial have earned their stripes as one of them will be starting in 2015. But there’s little depth behind them especially if Cowboy doesn’t return. That makes RJF as a very valuable asset.
In 16 games last season, RJF started 13 of them while recording 28 tackles, and setting career-highs in sacks (3) and pass break-ups (6).
With the 49ers trying to field the best-team possible for their rookie head-coach, it would be wise for them to bring back RJF as there will be no learning curve needed as RJF already understands the terminology/system. However, he has two other teams who are highly interested in the former LSU product as he has scheduled visits with the Washington Redskins and of course, the Seattle Seahawks.