SANTA CLARA — One of last season’s best storylines was how 49ers greybeard Joe Staley mentored and groomed Mike McGlinchey, the ninth overall draft pick who made all 16 starts at right tackle.
But the 49ers aren’t totally set at tackle as free agency begins on March 13.
They need to replace Garry Gilliam as the backup (or swing) tackle for Staley and McGlinchey.
There is no urgency to find another starter even though Staley is entering the final year of his contract, because Staley has indicated he wants to play a few more years.
The 49ers preferred to cut Gilliam rather than pay him $4.5 million salary, a price point worth remembering when it comes to what veteran free agent they might pursue this month.
That salary scale surely rules out a potential return of Trent Brown, who the 49ers gladly traded to New England upon drafting McGlinchey.
Who’s here: Joe Staley (LT), Mike McGlinchey (RT), Christian DiLauro.
The tackle market
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Trent Brown, New England: Mammoth (6-foot-8, 380 pounds) left tackle should hit the jackpot after blossoming for the Super Bowl champion Patriots. An interesting prospect with the 49ers, Brown as nonetheless traded along with the 143rd selection in the 2018 draft in exchange for the 95th pick. The 49ers took Tarvarius Moore. Moore played 16 games and started twice for the 49ers.
Darryl Williams, Carolina: Williams (6-6, 330) was considered one of the best right tackles in the NFL in 2017. Then came 2018,when he tried to play through an MCL tear in the preseason and sustained a major knee injury in the opener, missing the rest of the season. He’s had plenty of time to rehab, however, and is still only 27 years old.
Ja’Wuan James, Miami: Primarily a right tackle who has played sparing on the left side, James (6-6, 312) may have dropped off a bit last season but has started all 62 NFL games in which he’s played in four seasons. Was a first-round draft pick out Tennessee, the 19th pick overall, in 2014.
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Ty Nsekhe, Washington: Massive size (6-8, 330) and has been a serviceable swing tackle for Washington for the past four seasons. Has started 16 times but best suited as a backup active on game day at age 33 who could fill in on either side.
Jared Veldheer, Denver: Former Raiders starter moved from left to right tackle with Arizona and continued in that role with Denver. Injuries have been a problem with Veldheer, who hasn’t played a full season since 2015. Could be at stage where he’s backup on both sides.
Others: Cameron Fleming (Dallas), Jordan Mills (Buffalo), Marshall Newhouse (Carolina), Jake Fisher (Cincinnati), Jermon Bushrod (New Orleans), Austin Howard (Washington), Ereck Flowers (Jacksonville), Garry Gilliam (49ers).
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