The San Francisco 49ers extended offensive guard Laken Tomlinson on Friday, and while we await word on the details, we know the deal goes through
2020 2021. The deal makes it pretty clear that Tomlinson will be the team’s starting left guard when Week 1 of the coming season arrives.
This gives us an idea of four-fifths of the offensive line for 2018. Joe Staley will start at left tackle, Tomlinson at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, and Mike McGlinchey at right tackle. The right guard competition during the offseason workout program saw Joshua Garnett and Mike Person splitting snaps. Jonathan Cooper will get into the mix when training camp arrives, with Erik Magnuson also potentially getting some work.
The four players seemingly locked into starting positions are all signed through at least 2019. Tomlinson is signed through
2020 2021. Staley got a pay raise this offseason on a six-year contract extension he signed in 2014, which carries him through 2019. Richburg signed as a free agent this offseason, inking a five-year deal through 2022. McGlinchey has not signed his rookie contract yet, but when he does, it will have him signed through 2021, and the 49ers will hold a team option in 2022.
Jonathan Cooper and Mike Person signed one-year deals this offseason, while Joshua Garnett is entering year three of his rookie contract. He is signed through 2019, and the 49ers have to decide next offseason whether or not to exercise his fifth year option for 2020.
If Garnett is able to secure the right guard spot, the 49ers will have a shot at retaining the same starting offensive line through at least 2019, and maybe even a year longer if Staley decides to keep playing after his current contract ends. This assumes Garnett secures the job and Tomlinson takes a step forward, but if those two things happen, the 49ers could have year-over-year full offensive line stability for the first time since the Harbaugh years.
When things were going particularly well on offense, a big reason was consistent play from a healthy offensive line. Jimmy Garoppolo made the offensive line look a bit better last winter with his quick release, but it helps having the same unit together all season long. The 49ers are in a position to have a chance at that for the next couple of seasons.