It’s been nearly three years since the San Francisco 49ers traded a Day 3 pick for Laken Tomlinson, and 2019 was his best season yet. Tomlinson didn’t miss a snap in 2019, which proved to be quite valuable. He’s the only member on the offensive line that can say that. Tomlinson played the most snaps in his career, and only committed four penalties all season.
Tomlinson finished 2019 with a PFF grade of 64.7, which was the second-highest in the NFC West. He was the highest-rated in pass protection. It wasn’t often he was beaten in pass pro. The value Tomlinson has provided after being acquired for pennies has to make John Lynch smile.
Age: 28 (turned 28 February 9)
Experience: Five accrued seasons
Weight: 312 pounds
Tomlinson signed a three-year contract extension in June of 2018. His salary is guaranteed for injury in 2020. Tomlinson can earn up to $400,000 per year through per-game roster bonuses; and can earn $100,000 work out bonus each year. His cap number will be $5.7 million. His 2021 salary is not guaranteed, unlike this year. If the 49ers feel like they want to move on from Tomlinson, they can save $5 million against the cap next year with $1.2 million in dead money. There better be an upgrade at guard if we get to the point of releasing Tomlinson. I don’t see that happening.
What to expect in 2020
Tomlinson will play alongside a new left tackle, and hopefully, it’s only one player this season. In the run game, Kyle Shanahan-led offenses tend to act as one. Assuming that’ll be the case again, I’m expecting Tomlinson to improve in the run game with Trent Williams by his side. There were a few instances last season where Tomlinson would struggle to pick up a defender trying to cross his face. That’s probably the biggest area he can improve.
There isn’t much to complain about as a pass-protector for Laken. He’s consistently kept Jimmy Garoppolo clean, and that’s all you can ask for. Tomlinson should once again keep his sack/quarterback hits under five. You’re going to get beat in the NFL, so long as the pressures don’t add up and Jimmy G stays on his feet, Tomlinson should once again be one of the top guards in the division. The 49ers are fortunate to have a quality starting offensive lineman on a relatively cheap deal. Tomlinson is an ideal player in Shanahan’s system.