The 49ers have tendered offensive lineman Jordan Devey, who started nine games at right guard last season, and they are expected to do the same with linebacker Michael Wilhoite, according to sources.
The sources wished not to be identified because they are unauthorized to speak on the matter.
The deadline for tender offers is Wednesday, the start of the new league year.
Wilhoite is a restricted free agent. He’s started 30 games for the 49ers at inside linebacker over the past three seasons. He finished with 85 tackles last season – second most on the team – before suffering a high ankle sprain in December that kept him out of the final four contests. Gerald Hodges, acquired in a trade during the season, started the games Wilhoite missed.
The lowest-level tender of $1.671 million for a restricted free agent would allow the 49ers to match any offer Wilhoite receives in free agency. But because he was not drafted, the 49ers would receive no draft compensation if he is allowed to sign elsewhere.
Defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie and linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong are the team’s other restricted free agents. If Wilhoite returns, as expected, he likely would compete with Hodges, Shayne Skov and perhaps Armstrong for the starting job next to NaVorro Bowman. Any other inside linebacker the team acquires this offseason would be in that mix as well.
Devey, meanwhile, is an exclusive rights free agent, which means he has accrued less than three seasons in the league and has no negotiating power in free agency. Teams can retain exclusive rights to free agents with non-guaranteed minimum-salary deals.
Devey was replaced in the starting lineup late in the 2015 season by Andrew Tiller and likely will be one of several young interior linemen – along with Tiller, Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas and Ian Silberman – competing for roles on the offensive line this year.
The 49ers also are expected to look closely at unrestricted free agents at the position next week.