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49ers Take Smart Gamble on Former NFL Draft Bust

Devon Platana
The San Francisco 49ers took a smart gamble by signing former Las Vegas Raiders DE Arden Key.
The San Francisco 49ers took a smart gamble by signing former Las Vegas Raiders DE Arden Key. / Michael Hickey/Getty Images
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Around a week after being released by the Las Vegas Raiders, defensive end Arden Key already has a new team.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the San Francisco 49ers have signed Key to a one-year deal on Wednesday. Key has spent the last three seasons with the Raiders after they selected him 87th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Despite being taken that high, Key failed to impress the Raiders, leading to some calling him a bust.

However, considering this move is a depth signing for the 49ers, Key shouldn't have that much pressure on his shoulders to perform when needed.

First of all, the deal is a low-risk, high-reward situation for the 49ers. The contract is just for one year, meaning that if it doesn't work out, the team doesn't have to worry about bringing Key back next season. However, if he performs above expectations, he could be a real contributor to the organization.

The 24-year-old pass-rusher has played in 37 NFL games over his career, recording 49 combined tackles, 3 sacks and 26 quarterback hits. One thing that could be holding Key back from reaching his potential is the fractured foot he sustained in 2019. The injury occurred in Week 9 of that season, forcing Key to miss the remainder of the campaign.

There is a chance that Key needed a season to adjust to his new normal before trying to reach his potential once again. If that's the case and he plays more comfortably this season, the 49ers could consider this gamble a smart one.


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