Offensive lineman Alex Boone, who had not participated in the 49ers’ offseason program, is in Santa Clara and will be on hand for the veteran minicamp that runs Tuesday through Thursday, a league source said.
The minicamp is the only mandatory session before training camp.
Boone, the starter at right guard since 2011, missed the 2014 offseason while seeking a more lucrative contract. The 49ers reworked his two-year deal, and he played in 15 games last season. He still wants more money and perhaps has more leverage this season.
The 49ers lost their other starting guard, Mike Iupati, in free agency and last week learned starting right tackle Anthony Davis is retiring. Boone had been a tackle all of his life before switching to guard and might be the best option to replace Davis. Boone filled in at left tackle during a 2013 game against St. Louis in which Joe Staley was injured.
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Boone likely would favor a switch to tackle. Not only is it a more natural position for him because of his 6-foot-8 frame, he could command a bigger contract – whether it’s with the 49ers or another team – as a tackle rather than a guard. He is entering the final year of his deal and is set to become a free agent in March.
Pro Football Focus rated Boone as the 18th-best guard in the league last season, considered a down year for Boone. The 49ers, however, have far more depth at guard than tackle. The possibilities there include veteran free-agent acquisition Erik Pears, Brandon Thomas, Marcus Martin, Joe Looney and sixth-round pick Ian Silberman.
With Boone and Davis absent so far in spring practices, seventh-round pick Trent Brown has been lining up at right tackle, and Pears has been playing guard.
The 49ers are expected to have a full roster for the mandatory session this week. The other two veterans who have not attended the voluntary sessions are wide receiver Anquan Boldin and kicker Phil Dawson. The team has two open roster spots because of Davis’ retirement and Saturday’s trade of punter Andy Lee to Cleveland.