The 49ers today inked long-time nemesis Darnell Dockett, a defensive lineman, to a two-year deal, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, reported on Twitter. The ex-Cardinals player met with the 49ers Wednesday, a visit that also included a medical examination of the ACL injury that forced Dockett, 33, to miss all of the 2014 season.
The Cardinals released Dockett last week because they didn’t want to pay the $6.55 million he was due in 2015. However, they offered him an incentive-laden, one-year worth as much as $4 million to return to the team. The 49ers’ deal is worth $4 million in Year 1 and can be worth as much as $7.5 million altogether by the end of the second year. There is $2 million in guarantees. The Seahawks and Rams also were interested in Dockett.
The 6-4, 290-pound Docket will play defensive end in San Francisco’s 3-4 defense. The team cut one of its starters, Ray McDonald, in December, while another, Justin Smith, has been unsure about whether he will play in 2015. There also are a number of young players at the position, including Tank Carradine, a second-round pick in 2013, Quinton Dial, Kaleb Ramsey and Lawrence Okoye.
Dockett’s best season may have been 2007 when he had 58 tackles, nine sacks and two forced fumbles. He made the Pro Bowl that year and in 2009 and 2010. In 2013, his most recent full season, he had 46 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks and no forced fumbles. At the end of that year, the scouting service Pro Football Focus rated Dockett the 30th best 3-4 defensive end that season. Smith was ranked 16th, McDonald 22nd.
He sat out last season with an ACL injury but missed only two games in the previous 10 seasons. Dockett also is a prolific trash talker and once got into a lengthy Twitter battle with 49ers tight end Vernon Davis – they are friends from the Washington, D.C. area, as Davis’ recent Instagram post attests – as well as 49ers fans.
“49er fans keep talking bout the old championships they have lol,” Dockett wrote in 2010. “I wasn’t even in the NFL then. How pitaful (sic) stop talking bout the old baby!”
Dockett will turn 34 in May. He is the the third-oldest 49er who is signed for 2015 behind only Smith, 35, and kicker Phil Dawson, 40.
Team officials also on Wednesday met with Smith regarding his plans for the upcoming season. Smith had been contemplating retirement but there was recent optimism in the organization that he would return for a 15th season. There was no word of a resolution Wednesday night.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.