Breaking Down 49ers Offensive Line Depth and Strengths Following Free Agency
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Going into the offseason, there was one free agent above all that fans, and it is safe to assume the front office wanted to make sure they signed a long-term deal, Trent Williams. Anyone associated with the Niners was sad to see longtime left tackle Joe Staley retire after the 2019 season. Who was going to block the blindside of whoever is under center? That answer came during the draft when the 49ers traded for Washington’s pro bowl left tackle, Trent Williams.
Williams did not disappoint in his first season with the 49ers. He had many plays that left fans screaming, “Stop, Trent, that man has a family.”
Okay, that was a lie. Nobody cared about the other player and just wanted to inject more of that into their veins. Well, their drug of choice would be realized when Williams signed a hefty six-year $138,060,000 contract. This is a significant contract for a 32-year-old player; however, the Niners do have an out after three years. The other acquisition was signing six-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack to a three-deal worth almost $15 million. Mack is now 35 years old, however, his deal is very team-friendly, and he could be cut next season with little cap hit if they need to move on.
Playing guard for the 49ers should still be, at this moment, Laken Tomlinson and Daniel Brunskill, and rounding it out is right tackle Mike McGlinchey. Now, where are they in their depth, and what about the future? The 49ers have a decision to make on McGlinchey this season. Drafted in the first round of the 2018 draft, this is his fourth year, and it could be his last if the top brass does not exercise McGlinchey’s fifth-year option. If they look at his production last season, there is no way they pick up the fifth-year option.
They do have options as 2021 is supposed to be a deep class for an offensive tackle, and Brunskill, who can also play center, Justin Skule, Shon Coleman, and 2020 rookie Colton McKivitz have played offensive tackle. McKivitz played both left and right tackle in college. He lined up as the right guard last season and played all the offensive snaps for the 49ers in their 23-20 win against the Rams in late November. So, if they must move Brunskill to center (or if he gets injured), McKivitz can fill in at the right guard.
Also, at center, the 49ers still have Weston Richburg though his future is uncertain at this point. The 49ers did restructure his contract. When he is on the field, the man is an anchor for that line. However, he missed the entire 2020 season, and rumors of his retirement have surfaced. Still under contract and able to play center is Jake Brendel. Brendel signed a one-year deal last season; however, he opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If McGlinchey can perform more like he did in 2018 and 2019, then on paper, the 49ers have a bloody good-looking offensive line to block for whomever is under center. They have some players who have played at various spots on the offensive line, so hopefully they will not miss a beat if there are any injuries.
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