The San Francisco 49ers have signed offensive tackle Garry Gilliam to a two-year contract extension, the team announced on Tuesday. Gilliam was signed as a free agent last offseason to be the primary swing tackle behind left tackle Joe Staley and right tackle Trent Brown. Gilliam was considered a smart, versatile pickup who provided some much-needed veteran depth.
Unfortunately, he sustained a knee injury that caused the 49ers to place him on injured reserve in early November. That forced Zane Beadles and rookie Erik Magnuson to play some tackle, and it was not pretty. The 49ers were absolutely lost with Beadles starting at tackle, where he is somehow worse than he is at guard.
Gilliam played on just 36 snaps in 2017, allowing one quarterback hit and one quarterback hurry, per Pro Football Focus. He is generally regarded as a player with average skills in pass- and run-blocking equally, and remains a good swing tackle option for the 49ers. It seems they are not concerned about his injury going forward, as evidenced by the two-year extension.
Brown’s shoulder injury and surgery remain a bit murky, so this is a big vote of confidence in Gilliam, or a condemnation of the offensive tackle market outside of him. I like the extension, so long as the financial terms are agreeable.