A year ago, the San Francisco 49ers did not have many free agents drawing big interest. A year later, that’s changing, at least a little bit. Carlos Hyde has departed for the Cleveland Browns, and now guard Brandon Fusco is signing a contract with the Atlanta Falcons. The deal is for three years, and could be worth up to $12.75 million, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.
Fusco started all 16 games at right guard for the 49ers last year. He wasn’t awful, and in fact had some solid stretches. But he was not a guy the 49ers could afford to build around. They have a heavy investment in the quarterback position, and an improvement is necessary at both guard positions. Fusco and Tomlinson improved with Garoppolo’s insertion into the starting lineup, but the 49ers can do better.
Joshua Garnett will get a chance to compete for a starting spot, and the signing of Weston Richburg suggests Daniel Kilgore could end up competing for guard work as well. When the 49ers introduce Richburg to the media, hopefully we’ll get a better handle on the specifics of his role. Center makes the most sense, but you never know what the team might have in mind.