SAN FRANCISCO—On Friday, September 4, the San Francisco 49ers released defensive lineman Darnell Dockett. The team has since confirmed the cut.
The 34-year-old Dockett was released just six months after being signed to a 2-year, $7.25 million contract, with $2 million guaranteed. Dockett was originally signed to replace defensive end Justin Smith, who retired in 2014 after a 14-year career in the NFL.
During the preseason, Dockett had been hindered a rib injury during a game against the Denver Broncos on August 29. While he maintained it was nothing more than a cracked rib, the 49ers claimed that it was in fact a cartilage issue.
Dockett was one of 19 players the 49ers released in its roster cut. Other defensive players cut included defensive tackle Louis Nix of the Houston Texans and defenseman lineman Da’Quan Bowers of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
All NFL teams were expected to size their rosters down to 53 players by Saturday at 1 p.m. The first day of the upcoming season begins on Sunday, September 13.
Dockett has not played a regular season game since 2013, missing the entire 2014 season after sustaining an ACL injury. He was not expected to miss any games of the upcoming regular season.
Dockett previously played with the Arizona Cardinals. He held a spot on the Cardinals roster for 10 years and recorded 40.5 tackles throughout his career with the team. Dockett was released by the Cardinals in February 2015 before signing with the 49ers.
Now a free agent, Dockett will be able to sign with any other NFL team, including the Cardinals, just over one week before the start of the season.