The San Francisco 49ers placed right tackle Trent Brown on injured reserve last weekend, ending his season due to a shoulder injury that will require surgery. Brown suffered the injury a few weeks ago, and had been in and out of the lineup since. Kyle Shanahan expects a recovery timeline in the five-to-six month range.
Brown was named as a Pro Bowl alternate on Tuesday. Players drop out left and right due to injuries and other reasons, but obviously Brown will not be playing in Orlando either way. I don’t know if he has had surgery yet, but as soon as he does, the rehab process begins. At that point, his future with the 49ers could be on the line.
Matt Barrows brought up a good point about Brown and his future with the 49ers in his recent mailbag column. Someone asked him if he thought Brown was trying to protect himself heading into the final year of his contract, and if this displeased management. Barrows said management likely will use the injury as an opportunity to see how committed he is.
Brown has had weight/conditioning/motivation issues in the past. The team naturally might be nervous about giving him a big payday. Seeing how he deals with and overcomes a significant injury, one that will keep him out of the gym for a while, should be telling.
Brown is finishing up the third year of his rookie contract, which means he will be eligible for a contract extension once the season ends. I see virtually no chance he gets an extension on the earlier side of this offseason. Where it gets interesting is how he looks in the offseason workout program and then into training camp. If he is in good to great shape at that point, I could see an extension. Training camp brings with it reports that a player is in the best shape of their life. It’s often a useless cliche, but with Brown, his weight and conditioning will be critical next summer.