NFL Free Agency

Jackson expects to be full strength during 49ers' offseason program

NBC Universal, Inc.

The 49ers have a lot of work to do along the defensive line this offseason with six players scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next week.

Some of the expected losses along the defensive line can be mitigated with the return of defensive end Drake Jackson, who appeared in just eight games before undergoing season-ending left quadriceps surgery.

Jackson said he should be at full strength at some point during the 49ers' offseason program.

“I’ll be out there some time this spring. I can’t wait,” Jackson told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I’m going to be ready for training camp, for sure.”

Jackson will be entering his third NFL season after the 49ers selected him in the second round (No. 61 overall) in the 2022 draft out of USC.

He matched his sack total from his entire rookie season when he opened the 2023 season with a three-sack performance in the 49ers’ Week 1 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But Jackson struggled with a leg issue before going on injured reserve at the midpoint of the season. He underwent season-ending surgery in early January and was not around the 49ers much in the playoffs as he went through physical therapy.

Five defensive linemen who suited up for the 49ers in the Super Bowl are scheduled to be free agents: Chase Young, Javon Kinlaw, Kevin Givens, Randy Gregory and Sebastian Joseph-Day.

In addition, defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who started all 17 games before his season ended with a knee injury, has a contract set to expire, too.

Jackson, who is under contract to the 49ers through the 2025 season, figures to compete for significant playing after opening last season as the team’s top nickel pass-rusher off the sideline.

“I can’t wait to just be on the field and be with my guys,” Jackson said. “The last four weeks, I wasn’t with the team at all. I missed bonding with my guys and being in the locker room and laughing.

“I just can’t wait to be back in the swing of things and playing football.”

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us