Mike Iupati appears to be the latest big name departing the 49ers. ESPN’s Adam Schefter today reported that Iupati has been telling associates he plans to sign with the Cardinals. Pending free agents like Iupati can’t officially sign with a new team until 1 p.m. Tuesday.
That, of course, means that Iupati will be twice-a-year rivals with the team that drafted him in the first round in 2010. He’ll also probably block against a long-time Cardinal, defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, whom the 49ers signed last week.
The 49ers were in the running to re-sign Iupati, who is considered the top interior lineman on the open market. So were the Raiders, Bills and Jets. The 49ers, however, tried unsuccessfully to ink Iupati to a contract extension in recent years, suggesting there was a sizable gap between their value on him and his market value.
The team drafted two interior linemen in the third round in May. Either Brandon Thomas or Marcus Martin could end up starting at Iupati’s left guard spot.
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Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.