The NFL season is winding down which means some players have contracts ending. Some players will get franchised or extended but others will be hitting the open market. We’ll take a look at each position and see if any hopeful players would be a good fit for the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers didn’t need running backs, but they are going to be in need of some guards. Be it free agency or through the draft, they are going to need some bodies. The team does have Laken Tomlinson on the left side, but that right guard spot has question marks. Joshua Garnett is still on the team, though for how long anyone can guess. Mike Person carved out a role for himself at right guard, but he’s scheduled to become a free agent. And if Person leaves, that’s a big gap to fill.
And Tomlinson himself may not be safe either. Maybe the 49ers decide to get competition on both sides?
Much like with fullbacks and running backs, I’m looping both left and right guards in this list and we can sort things out in the comments. There’s a lot available. For one thing, if you think the 49ers should give Marcus Martin another shot, that could be arranged (no, he’s not coming back). Zane Beadles is also on the market if you are so inclined to try him again.
But to get exactly what the 49ers need, right guard is the priority. They will need a good zone-blocking guard with some speed and agility to them, which narrows the playing field a bit. The 49ers could try getting a power blocker, but it might take more time to acclimate to Shanahan’s system
Many teams will run different run-blocking schemes through a single game, but the one guy who sticks out to me that knows the Shanahan scheme is Atlanta Falcons guard Andy Levitre. Yes, he’s a bit long in the tooth and yes, he’s a left guard, but Levitre has experience in Shanahan’s offense. If the 49ers wanted to plug him in on a two-year deal for the right side (or move Tomlinson over) they could then draft a guard of the future and have them develop.
Ramon Foster from the Pittsburgh Steelers is another name to keep an eye on. I don’t care about the offense over there, the Steelers run game has been dominant no matter who they put back there to carry the rock and Ben Roethlisberger has also had adequate time to throw the ball. Foster is worth a conversation even if the Steelers run a bit more of a power than zone run-blocking scheme.
Finally, Tre Hopkins with the Cincinnati Bengals could be worth a look. He’s 27, plays right guard, and from what I could tell, the Bengals run the outside zone quite a bit. So maybe Hopkins could have a fit?
Here’s your free agent guards per Over the Cap. Things could change with franchise tags and deals, but all of the below have contracts expiring. Would you be interested in any of these guards coming to Santa Clara?
Guards hitting free agency in 2019