The San Francisco 49ers made a change at right guard releasing the incumbent Mike Person on Thursday. Who will start at the position in his place in 2020?
The San Francisco 49ers have primarily taken care of internal transactions this offseason. From the re-signings of Arik Armstead and Jimmie Ward to the trade of DeForest Buckner, all deals were made with the goal of retaining players — either in the present or in the future.
But on Thursday, the 49ers made their first external addition of the free-agency period signing veteran guard Tom Compton to a one-year, $3 million contract. The team also released starting right guard Mike Person in a corresponding move.
This decision leaves the 49ers without a clear starter at the right guard position. Of course, the first assumption is that Compton will be the player to take over for Person.
After all, the team signed Compton at just about the same time as they released Person. One would think that tips the organization’s plans.
However, that might not be the case.
Compton has played on a different team in each of the last five seasons and will continue that streak in 2020. And his 2019 numbers leave a lot to be desired.
More from Golden Gate Sports
That’s a stark difference and one that should have 49ers fans concerned.
It doesn’t matter that Compton is more athletic and a better fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense, his play is not deserving of a starting role — despite his five starts with the New York Jets last season.
Fortunately, the 49ers have other options.
San Francisco could opt to try Daniel Brunskill at guard after he impressed in his seven starts at tackle last year. An undrafted free agent in 2017, Brunskill made a name for himself in the now-defunct Alliance of American Football before signing on with the 49ers last April.
The 49ers like what Brunskill brings to the table and they may be willing to give him a shot at the starting job.
But perhaps the most enticing option would be to target Person’s replacement in the 2020 NFL Draft. With two first-round picks in the upcoming draft, the 49ers should have the opportunity to select an interior offensive lineman earlier on.
The most likely spot for that would be at pick No. 31, but the team could still look to trade back. Either way, prospects such as Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz and LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry III could be ideal targets.
Expect some sort of open competition for the job come the preseason between Compton, Brunskill, and a rookie. Who wins the job is, of course, unknown.
But however it turns out, the 49ers will have a new starting right guard in 2020.