49ers hope Green can give them an edge rusher

Roderick Green is one potential unrestricted free agent who won't be hitting the open market this year. The 49ers re-signed the four-year veteran on Tuesday - two days before the start of free agency - to compete for a role on the edge in the team's 3-4 defense this season.

There is no guarantee Green will make the team this summer, so this is one of those nondescript free-agent signings. Green, in fact, was released by the 49ers in each of the past two seasons before being re-signed. But the 6-foot-2, 274-pound defensive end/outside linebacker has value as a legitimate pass rusher, and by the end of last season he was one of the most effective pass rushers on the San Francisco roster.

The problem with Green in the 3-4 defensive scheme is that he lacks versatility to play the edge, which leaves him in no-man's land in base defensive packages. But he has displayed to the 49ers the past two seasons that he can be productive in a situational role as a pass-rushing specialist.

Green, who spent his first two NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, was originally claimed off waivers by the 49ers in September of 2006 and played in the first two games before being released on Sept. 19. When rookie Parys Haralson went on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle in November, the 49ers re-signed Green and he flourished in a situational role down the stretch.

Playing in nine games for San Francsco - seven after being re-signed - Green produced 4.5 sacks, which ranked third on the team. Those sacks produced 36.5 yards in losses, which was second on the team.

Green was battling for a roster spot last summer when the 49ers deemed that his lack of all-around skills for an edge 3-4 linebacker made him expendable, and he was waived at the first roster cutdown to give him an opportunity to catch on with another NFL team. That never happened, and Green still was available in November when the 49ers went looking for some help for their anemic pass rush.

Green was re-signed Nov. 7 - the exact same date he was re-signed the season before - and saw action in seven of San Francisco's final eight games, producing two sacks for 24 yards in losses, the latter figure ranking second on the team.

The 49ers are looking to pump up their pass rush this year after finishing with only 30 sacks last season and ranking 24th in the NFL in sacks per play. Green figures to compete for playing time on the edge with holdovers Tully Banta-Cain and Parys Haralson - and the other players the team is sure to bring in during the offseason in an attempt to strengthen the position.

Niners Digest Top Stories