The San Francisco 49ers made a pair of moves Sunday morning before training camp began. They went to the rookie pool signed offensive guard Chris Gonzalez. He’ll be competing for the guard spot. Joshua Garnett has been out for a number of days due to some issues with his knee, the same knee that he was placed on IR over in 2018. The extended absence from practice was longer than Kyle Shanahan anticipated, with Shanahan calling it concerning.
While Garnett won’t be needing surgery after seeking second opinions, he will continue to rehab, which probably meant the 49ers needed to find another guard in the meantime. While Gonzalez will be competing for that lone right guard spot, I think given the timing, he’s competing more for a practice squad spot with it being his rookie season. Gonzalez was a UDFA, signed by the Minnesota Vikings following the 2018 NFL Draft. He was released in July. Here’s what the 49ers said about Gonzalez
Gonzalez (6-3, 310) was originally signed by the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent on April 30, 2018, and was released on July 28.
A 23-year-old native of Los Angeles, CA, Gonzalez attended San Jose State University. In five years with the Spartans (2013-17), he appeared in 44 games (36 starts) along the offensive line. As a senior in 2017, he earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honors after starting all 13 games.
To get the space, the 49ers released a fellow UDFA safety, Corey Griffin. Griffin was a practice squad candidate at best, but he did flash some abilities I thought would be nice once developed, but I also said he needed a lot of development before I’d be relaxed with him hitting the field. If Gonzalez does not impress very quickly, or Garnett re-emerges as the new guard, either as the starter or backup, Gonzalez could be off the team in short order. It does show you where Griffin fit into the 49ers plans though, he couldn’t make it to the first preseason game after all.