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49ers still 'in the hunt' for Mike Iupati, but probably not for long

Mike Iupati could still return to the San Francisco 49ers but it's getting less and less likely.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers are still "in the hunt" for left guard Mike Iupati, alongside the Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and Buffalo Billsaccording to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. That may not last for very long though, La Canfora says Iupati may be "moving on from 49ers at this point."

That makes it sound like the 49ers have made their offers to Iupati, and that Iupati wants to return but that the rest of the teams in on him are offering more money. That is, of course, speculation, but I feel like Iupati would want to remain in San Francisco is the money made sense.

Most of us were already pretty convinced that the 49ers couldn't afford Iupati, but it's still disappointing given that it seems like they've gone further than expected in negotiations. Iupati definitely had a down year in 2014, looking poor in both pass and run blocking for the first half of the season, but he's done a whole lot more good than bad since the 49ers made him a first-round pick.

Without Iupati, it's unclear where the 49ers are going at the left guard spot. As best I can figure, Brandon Thomas is the top option, though the loser of the center battle -- Daniel Kilgore vs. Marcus Martin -- could also be a factor, as well as Joe Looney. Whatever the case, I think it's just about clear that the 49ers are out of the running for Iupati, though I guess we won't know for sure until Tuesday. That's when free agency begins, and I can't imagine Iupati will make it through the first day without putting pen to paper on a contract, wherever he ends up.