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Jaguars' Arik Armstead felt 'extremely disrespected' by 49ers' pay cut request before his release

Arik Armstead's move to Jacksonville made sense on a number of fronts.

With Javon Hargrave and Nick Bosa on the defensive line, the 49ers couldn't afford to keep Armstead. When he took a three-year, $43.5 million deal with the Jaguars, it was nothing more than a talented veteran capitalizing on the business of football.

However, as Armstead revealed on his podcast -- yes, everyone truly has a podcast these days -- Third and Long, his parting with the 49ers didn't come without a bit of a sting in the form of a lowball offer.

"They extended an offer to me of $6 million for a one-year deal with incentives to go up to $8 (million)," Armstead explained. "When they sent that over, I did feel extremely disrespected. I don't feel that that level of compensation is [anywhere] near the type of player that I am.

"Not even just the type of player that I am, what I have committed to the game, what I have committed to my team, what I have committed to the organization and my community. I didn't feel like it was representative of who I am as a player and a person."

Armstead didn't earn a postseason award in 2023, but did play quality football, logging 27 tackles, five sacks a defensive grade of 81.9, per Pro Football Focus. That production is indeed worth more than $6 million per year on the open market, justifying Armstead's feelings when presented with the offer.

"It's crazy how, being in this position, you'll start to even question yourself a little bit," Armstead revealed. "For a split second, I was like, 'Dang, am I really not like that?' No, ain't no way, bruh.

"If 32 teams had an opportunity for me to be on their team for $6 million, I think every team in the league would do that in a heartbeat."

This revelation came at the end of a lengthy explanation, in which Armstead attempted to detail how he understands the business of football, his worth on the open market and also how he values the relationships he'd built in San Francisco. He wasn't out to burn a bridge, but simply open up about how he ended up in Jacksonville, even if that process did hurt him emotionally.

Armstead wouldn't have reached Duval County if the 49ers hadn't first released him. That came only after a prolonged procedure prompted the 49ers' request for him to take a pay cut. And when the aforementioned number didn't meet Armstead's expectations, it was time for the two to part.

Armstead admitted he saw this result coming.

"Heading into this season, I kind of felt like I might play myself out of being in San Francisco," Armstead said. "I kinda had that sense and feeling a bit heading into the season that it might be a possibility. ... I understand the business of football and I can see it. It would be hard to have two $20 million defensive tackles and a $30 million defensive end and all this talent on our team; it's an abundance of talent."

In the end, San Francisco didn't have enough room in its cupboard to keep it from spilling out onto the counter. Out went Armstead, who played through a right meniscus injury in the postseason all the way through Super Bowl LVIII before undergoing surgery, and ended up acquiring a new uniform for the first time in his career.

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