Reunited and it feels so good, or at least that's the song Ronald Blair hopes to sing going forward. After spending the first four seasons of his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, after getting the nod as their fifth-round pick in 2016, Blair was released this offseason. He'll now look to restart his career with the New York Jets -- an organization that installed former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh as its new head coach this year -- putting Blair back in the toolbox of his former coach. The team announced the signing.
With rookie second-overall pick Zach Wilson now in place at the quarterback position, presumably as the future of the Jets franchise, Saleh is returning his attention to the bolstering the defensive side of the ball. He believes Blair will aid in that regard, as he's a former First-Team All-Sun Belt (2015) talent and former Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year (2015) who can contribute as a rotational pass rusher and can start in a pinch.
The 28-year-old only started twice for the 49ers in four seasons, but was active in 47 games and has 13.5 sacks in his career -- his 5.5 sack tally in 2018 being a career-high and having been achieved without starting a single game that year. Used correctly, Blair can make an impact for the Jets as he once did for the 49ers, but he'll have to remain healthy to see that hope materialize into reality. He has missed a total of 17 regular season games through 2019 due to injury, and the entirety of 2020 after suffering a torn ACL the year prior and then a setback in his recovery that resulted in him not returning; and his aforementioned release from the 49ers followed.
If Blair is again healthy after a year away from the field, Saleh and the Jets will have added a more-than-solid complementary piece to what they're trying to build in New York. He joins other newly-signed veteran pass rushers Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry in trying to aid the defensive-minded Saleh in his mission.