Earlier in training camp, Dorsey suffered a torn bicep injury and had surgery immediately. Most of his 2014 season is in doubt and he could be placed on the injured reserve to sit out for the year.
However, if the next MRI reveals that he is healing, there could be a chance he becomes the one player to be placed on the injured reserve-designated for return list. If this happens, he would be eligible to return by Week 11.
Dorsey was initially the fifth-overall draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008 where he was somewhat of a disappointment. He became a free agent after 2012 and the 49ers signed him in the 2013 offseason to a two-year contract. Dorsey has brought versatility to the team with the ability to play at both defensive end and nose tackle.
His role on the team increased after starting NT Ian Williams was ruled out for the season in Week 2 of 2013 with an ankle injury. Dorsey became the team's starting nose tackle for the remainder of the year and picked up the slack.
Assuming Dorsey does not play much in 2014, he will have an important job on the defensive line in 2015 and 2016. With his versatility to play any position in the trenches, they can plug him in as a rotational lineman if someone else earns the starting role.
Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial, both 2013 draft picks are expected to be the long-term future of the 49ers defensive line at DE and NT respectively. If they impress the coaching staff this season, Dorsey's role could diminish in snaps, but the team would be more stacked at depth.
It would be logical that Dorsey will compete with Carradine Dial and a draft pick or two for playing time in 2015. While there will be veterans on the team next year, the long-term planning must be addressed for the future.
Ray McDonald and Justin Smith are both under contract through the 2015 season, making 2016 the target year for Carradine and Dial to be key contributors. Carradine missed the entire 2013 season as he recovered from a torn ACL which he suffered in college. Meanwhile, Dial was used sparingly in a few games before becoming an inactive 53-man roster player as he suffered a toe injury during the season.
The 49ers value Dorsey enough that they signed him for the short term and believe he can help beyond 2014. If someone else emerges as a starter, Vic Fangio will find him a role on the team.
When 49ers Defensive Linemen contracts expire: