49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

March 9, 2009
Tackle-ing a tough issue

The 49ers certainly haven't been burning up the phones lines in search of a new offensive tackle, and as many readers pointed out, maybe that's a wise financial move. The top offensive linemen - and even the so-so ones - get paid very handsomely on the free-agent market. Heck, last year Kwame Harris got a three-year, $16 million deal. Some other free-agent deals so far this year:

OT Max Starks, one-year $8.45 million
C Jason Brown, five-year $37.5 million
G Brandon Moore, four-year $16 million.

As I wrote yesterday, it sure seems as if the 49ers feel they can land a tackle in the draft. And maybe that's smart. The player picked at No. 10 a year ago, New England linebacker Jerod Mayo, got a five-year deal worth $18.9 million.

Still, it's a bit of a gamble, even at No. 10. For one thing, you're banking on a rookie, which is always a dicey proposition. And you're also assuming there will be a good tackle available, something that failed to materialize for the 49ers last year. Yes, the Jaguars snagged Tra Thomas off the free-agent market today, a signal that they could pass on a tackle at pick. No. 8. But it also appears the Raiders won't be pursuing OT Khalif Barnes. The Raiders have pick No. 7 and they definitely could use a tackle. Theoretically, so could Detroit, St. Louis, Kansas City and Cincinnati.

And maybe it's too soon to give up on free agency. There have been rumblings that some notable veteran tackles, like Orlando Pace and Levi Jones, could possibly be hitting the market in coming weeks. Stay tuned ...

Best-guess OL depth chart

LT: Joe Staley, Barry Sims
LG: David Baas, Adam Snyder
C: Eric Heitmann, Cody Wallace
RG: Chilo Rachal, Tony Wragge
RT: Barry Sims, Adam Snyder

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: It seems that free-agent CB Karl Paymah could be paying the 49ers a visit. Paymah started five games for the Denver Broncos over the last two seasons and had three INTs over that span. Another cornerback, Eric Green, visited last week.

Football in Sacramento? Not according to this video by UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue, who mentions San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, Orlando, Los Angeles and Hartford as sites for the league's inaugural season that begins in October, but not Sacramento. I'm told that the league still hopes for its SF franchise (the Sea Lions? Who's with me?) to play one game in Sacramento but that working out the details on a site/date has been difficult. Huyghue will be in San Francisco Wednesday when, according to Howard Balzer
of the Sports Xchange, Dennis Green will be introduced as the head coach of the San Francisco franchise. Interesting indeed ...

-- Matt Barrows

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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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