49ers review: Offensive line

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49ers review: Offensive line

This is the fourth installment of a nine-part series that reviews every 49ers player and position group.Take a look at the stats most often associated with offensive line play, and the 49ers did not fare well. The 49ers were sacked 44 times -- 26th-best in the NFL in sacks per pass play. While the 49ers ranked eighth in the league in rushing yards per game, their 4.1-yard average per attempt was 19th. There were some games in which the line played exceptionally well (mostly at home). And there were times when things broken down with more frequency (mostly on the road). So it was an up-and-down season for the line. But with continuity, this group should continue to get better for several years to come. Grade: C
Joe Staley -- After seeing injuries cut short his previous two seasons, Staley started all 16 games and generally performed at a high level. He was rewarded with his first trip to the Pro Bowl after a season in which he surrendered six sacks, according to STATS, Inc., and was not called for any holding penalties. On run plays at left tackle, the 49ers averaged 5.2 yards per attempt, ranking seventh in the NFL. There were times throughout the season that Staley and left guard Mike Iupati were not on the same page. Perhaps that was the result of no offseason to become more familiar with the new scheme. But the pair should have plenty of time to improve, as Staley and Iupati figure to be working together for several more years.Mike Iupati -- The big improvement for offensive linemen usually takes place in the second year. But Iupati and right tackle Anthony Davis, both of whom started all 16 games as rookies in 2010, did not have the offseason program to improve. Iupati did not make a dramatic improvement in his second season. He was solid, to be sure, but he came nowhere close to reaching his potential. This offseason should prove beneficial for Iupati, as he'll have a chance to work on the intricacies of offensive line play under coaches Mike Solari and Tim Drevno. He'll also have a lot more time to be alongside Staley and hone the all-important teamwork aspect of the position.Jonathan Goodwin -- When the 49ers decided not to compete with the New York Giants' offer for center David Baas, the club went after Goodwin and signed him to a three-year, 10.9 million contract. Goodwin had the difficult chore of getting acclimated quickly to a new scheme in a short period of time after signing with the club on Aug. 3. The offensive line had its rough spots early in the season, but Goodwin got things ironed out. Because of the responsibilities entrusted to him and his success in getting the unit to work together, he was named the winner of the Bobb McKittrick Award. The honor goes annually to team's offensive lineman who best exemplifies the dedication, excellence and commitment of McKittrick, the longtime coach who died in 2000.Adam Snyder -- When training camp opened, he was competing for the starting job at center. Then, he began splitting time at right guard. Snyder moved full time into right guard at halftime of the 49ers' third game of the season. That began a streak of exceptional play from the offensive line, as running back Frank Gore rushed for 107 yards or more in each of the next five games. Snyder has played every position on the offensive line for the 49ers during his seven-year professional career. Right guard, however, might be his best spot. This was his best season. Snyder is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, and the 49ers want to bring him back because of his unique versatility.
Anthony Davis -- He showed up to training camp a little heavy-legged and it took him a while to get going. The lockout might have impacted him more than anyone on the team. But through most of the season, Davis did an acceptable job while starting every game at right tackle. His play gives the 49ers every reason to believe he and Staley can be bookend tackles for a while. Davis had his ups and downs during the course of the season. He excelled in some games, struggled in others. But, mostly, the arrow was pointing up. Like Iupati, Davis should take a huge leap forward in the 2012 season.Chilo Rachal -- He was the only returning starter on the offensive line who did not attend any of the "Camp Alex" sessions at San Jose State during the lockout. He opened training camp as the starter at right guard, but was benched in the third game of the season at Cincinnati after a particularly rough first half. He was used throughout the season in formations in which the 49ers brought in extra blockers. When he replaced an injured Snyder against the Baltimore Ravens, he struggled. A second-round pick in the 2008 draft, Rachal has come nowhere close to playing up to that standard. As an unrestricted free agent, Rachal might need a fresh start elsewhere.Alex Boone -- After signing a reasonable extension through the 2015 season, Boone figures to be the backup swing tackle for quite a while. Boone entered the NFL as an undisciplined, out-of-shape undrafted rookie. He has transformed his body and his life for the positive. He played nearly the entire game against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 13 when Staley was out with a concussion, and he played well. He saw most of his action throughout the season as an extra blocker in short-yardage situations.Daniel Kilgore -- Played one snap as an extra blocker in the Monday night game against the Steelers for his only playing time of his rookie season. The 49ers like Kilgore and are excited about working with him for an entire offseason. He'll have a chance to earn his way into the mix next season at right guard.Mike Person -- The seventh-round pick from Montana State was inactive for all 16 games. His game days consisted of getting on the field a couple hours before game time and working drills with Solari and Drevno at the tackle position, along with Kilgore and practice-squad linemen Chase Beeler and Derek Hall. The 49ers will get a full offseason to evaluate at which position he has his best chance to help the club.

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

Under the 49ers’ new regime, the club has already invested more in the free-agent market than a year ago under then-general manager Trent Baalke.

Just a reminder: The free-agent signing period does not officially open until March 9.

The 49ers on Friday reached a contract agreement with veteran defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who is penciled into be a starter in the team’s new 4-3 base scheme under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

"As soon as Earl hit the open market, he became a priority for us to sign,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement released Saturday morning. “A man of high character, he represents everything we want to be as a football team. Earl is a tone-setter who plays the game with a tremendous passion and the effort necessary to win in this league. We believe those qualities are contagious and will help to make our team stronger. We look forward to the impact Earl will have on the field, in the locker room and in our community.”

It was the first significant move under Lynch, who also signed a player with NFL experience earlier in the week.

The 49ers also added cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year contract. Williams served as the Cleveland Browns’ nickel back for two seasons. The Browns released him before the start of last season and he was unable to play due to an ankle injury.

Mitchell was available to be signed before the start of the new league year because the Miami Dolphins released him last week in a move to save the team $4 million in cap space.

Mitchell took four free-agent visits and after wrapping up his tour with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, he and the 49ers quickly agreed on a four-year, $16 million contract that includes $5.5 million of money in the first year, according to a source.

Last year, Baalke did little to improve the roster for coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers, who finished 5-11 in Jim Tomsula's one season, dropped to 2-14. Just hours after the season concluded, the 49ers announced the firings of Baalke and Kelly.

The only veteran free-agent addition who stepped on the field for the 49ers last season was offensive lineman Zane Beadles. The 49ers signed Beadles in late-March to a three-year, $9.75 million contract with a $1.75 million signing bonus. Beadles had a good season for the 49ers, starting 12 games at left guard, two games at left tackle and the final two games at center.

The 49ers have already shown more willingness to be aggressive under Lynch’s leadership.

Mitchell, 29, is a seven-year veteran who began his NFL career from 2010 to ’13 with the Houston Texans. He was a rookie in Saleh’s final season as assistant linebackers coach in Houston.

Mitchell joins DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Quinton Dial on the 49ers defensive line. The 49ers view Mitchell as a high-energy player who bring good character to the locker room. The signing of Mitchell could be an indication the 49ers are moving on from Glenn Dorsey, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

With 5.5 sacks in seven seasons, the 49ers do not figure to use Mitchell in passing situations. The club must try to bolster its pass rush in free agency or the draft. Last season, Buckner and Ahmad Brooks shared the team-lead with six sacks apiece. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch both led the way with 6.5 sacks.

 

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

The San Francisco 49ers agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Friday, CSNBayArea.com has learned

Mitchell, 29, will earn $5.5 million in his first year with the 49ers. 

The seven-year veteran played in nine games last season for the Dolphins. He recorded 17 total tackles. 

Since entering the league in 2010 as a third-round draft pick with the Texans, Mitchell has appeared in 100 games between Houston and Miami, totaling 206 tackles. He has also recorded 5.5 sacks.