2014 Free Agency: 49ers need a center, but which direction they'll go is anybody's guess

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Who will be the 49ers' starting center in 2014?

Like the tight end position, I don't think the San Francisco 49ers are going to be particularly active in the free agent market for offensive linemen. Going through the line, the 49ers have five solid starters and a couple decent backups, and that's about all you ever want or need in the NFL.

Five starters and at least two solid backups. That isn't to say that the 49ers are free of want or need on the offensive line, it's just that they're not likely to look for help along said line in free agency. Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone and Anthony Davis are all solid starters, but one of them is clearly on his way out: Goodwin.

It's certainly possible that the 49ers up the ante and look to bolster the position in free agency. With the ever-rising salary cap, there are a couple opportunities here and there to possibly forego having to draft the guy for the future, but those options are expensive.

There are a lot of free agent options along the offensive line. Over 70 players are about to hit the open market along said line, and I'm not going to list them all. Instead, you can go to one of these sites here and here or even here. But there are definitely some interesting names.

We can rule out tackle or guard talk for the most part I think, unless we're talking backups. Guys like Jon Asamoah are the kinds of guys I think the 49ers would be interested in: guys who have started in the past but may or may not find stating jobs this offseason. I think the more interesting discussion is center.

Goodwin is a pending free agent, though I imagine if the 49ers wanted to bring him back it would be a relatively easy negotiation. Goodwin doesn't have too much longer in the NFL at this point, but a return to San Francisco seems to make the most sense. He won't be expensive, but he also isn't exactly the future at the position.

If the 49ers keep Goodwin, they absolutely have to draft a center. But Goodwin isn't the only option. There's two other interesting names out there in Brian De La Puente and Alex Mack. Both are starting caliber, but both are also considered worth keeping by their respective teams. I'm not sure how likely it is that either player end up actually hitting the market and unsure how likely it is that the 49ers pursue them.

San Francisco does have a bit of cap space, but they have other priorities, like re-signing Colin Kaepernick and things of that nature. So really I have no idea what's going to happen at center this offseason. What do you think?

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