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49ers roster breakdowns, 90-in-90: Garry Gilliam

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today we move on to tackle Garry Gilliam

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.

The San Francisco 49ers signed Garry Gilliam during this most recent offseason. Gilliam was a restricted free agent, having signed a three-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. The 49ers signed Gilliam to an offer sheet, and Seattle chose not to match it.

The signing was a divisive one, as Gilliam has undoubtedly been one of the worst tackles to have seen regular NFL snaps over the course of the past three seasons. There was a widespread belief that if the Seahawks didn’t want him, despite their offensive line woes, he was not a player the 49ers should have been courting.

Gilliam was an undrafted free agent pick up by the Seahawks in 2014, having made the transition from tight end to tackle in his final year of college. His best season was actually as a rookie, demonstrated by his 53.2 overall grade per PFF (which is still bad) that compares favorably to his 42.9 overall grade in 2015 and 38.0 in 2016.

As you would expect with such a poor grade in 2016, Gilliam struggled as both a run blocker (37.6 grade) and as a pass blocker (40.2 grade). He will have to significantly step up his levels of performance in San Francisco to remain an NFL player.

Basic info:

Height 6’5
Weight: 315lbs
Age: 26 (27 on November 26)
Experience: 3 accrued seasons

Cap status:

Signed a one year contract, that is paying him a base salary of $1,400,000. It includes a signing bonus of $500,000 and a roster bonus totaling $300,000 (paid out over 16 weeks). He received $1.25 million fully guaranteed between his signing bonus and $750,000 of his base salary.

Gilliam missed two games last season, so the roster bonus counts $262,500 against the cap, with the remaining $37,500 counted as a NLTBE incentive. His cap hit right now is $2,162,500, but if he is active for all 16 games, the cap hit would then include the $37,500. The team would carry $1.25 million dead money if they released him.

Why he might improve:

Sometimes a change of scenery is what a player needs to turn their career round, and this is exactly what Gilliam has having moved down the west coast over the course of the offseason. You don’t just become a better player by changing teams, but there are ways that Gilliam might find himself well suited to the 49ers’ system.

He moves well which could see him increase his run blocking effectiveness in the 49ers’ outside zone running game. The same outside zone running game contributes to the play action passing attack which will also see Gilliam be able to utilise his mobility within the moving pockets of the play action offense. He has good size and his experience as a tight end might even see him feature in some unique Shanahan plays where he is an eligible receiver.

Nevertheless, it is reasonable to suggest that a “better” season from Gilliam would essentially constitute him being a rarely used swing tackle behind starters Joe Staley and Trent Brown with the physical tools to come in and do his job on the rare occasions that he is required. He fits well in the system, and that is a good starting point for a backup tackle.

Why he might regress:

Gilliam has regressed as his career has gone on, as teams have worked him out and established that he is a weakness. Unless he massively improves his technique and his nastiness, he is going to continue to struggle at the NFL level. If he is forced into regular snaps, things might get ugly.

Odds of making the roster:

He is undoubtedly the third choice tackle on the roster which means he has a solid chance of making the 53. However, with the increased depth along the interior, we must consider that the 49ers could view Zane Beadles as a possible swing tackle option and then opt to retain one of the younger tackles on the roster instead of Gilliam. He will have to improve on his performances thus far this offseason where he has reportedly been something of a revolving door to ensure that the latter scenario does not play out.