Yesterday morning, the 49ers caught many of us off guard when they announced the signing of veteran offensive guard Leonard Davis. The former Pro Bowl guard had come in for a workout back in March, but had left town without a contract. The 49ers worked out Davis along with Geoff Schwartz, Deuce Lutui and Jason Brown in their early quest to find some options for the right guard position.
All four free agents left town without contracts and the 49ers eventually appeared to settle on Alex Boone as the primary option at right guard, while drafting Joe Looney as a potential option down the road. Now that has changed to a certain extent. Leonard Davis vs. Alex Boone becomes a potentially pertinent position battle.
Coach Harbaugh has always pushed the need for competition across the board, so this is not a surprising signing in that regard. And the timing makes some measure of sense. Leonard Davis was rehabbing a foot injury when he first came in to visit in March, so it is not surprising the 49ers would want to wait until now to make sure he can pass his physical.
A slight comparison might be to when the 49ers signed Takeo Spikes in 2008. Spikes underwent shoulder surgery late in the 2007 season and after visiting numerous teams, didn't sign a contract until August 10, 2008. This is not to say Davis will work out like Spikes did, but this would explain the delay in signing the veteran guard.
For now though, we'll have to pay close attention to see how exactly the 49ers use Boone and Davis. As practice gets going later today, the beat writers will likely provide some temporary depth chart information based on what they observe. These depth charts won't provide conclusive answers, but they'll get us moving in the right direction.