The Seahawks had five days to match the 49ers’ contract offer to offensive tackle Garry Gilliam, but they didn’t need that much time.
On Tuesday, Seattle made the decision not to match the offer after just one day, making the veteran Gilliam, a restricted free agent, the newest member of San Francisco’s offensive line. Gilliam will play 2017 on a one-year contract worth $2.2 million, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
Gilliam, 26, will likely be the team’s swing tackle, backing up Joe Staley on the left side and Trent Brown on the right, though he also is expected to compete with Brown for the starting job.
Gilliam has started 30 games over the past three seasons with the Seahawks at both tackle spots. He also has played guard.
Gilliam’s signing doesn’t mean the 49ers won’t be in the market for extra help on the offensive line in the upcoming NFL draft, which begins April 27. The 49ers starting unit now looks to be Staley and Brown at the tackles, Josh Garnett and Zane Beadles at the guard spots and either Jeremy Zuttah or Daniel Kilgore at center. Either Zuttah or Kilgore also could move to guard. Aside from Staley, who’s been to multiple Pro Bowls, and Garnett, a first-round pick in 2016, the 49ers need some dominating, physical players on the line similar to former standouts such as guards Mike Iupati and Alex Boone (who both left in free agency) and tackle Anthony Davis (retired).
In 2016, the 49ers offensive line was ranked last in the NFL in run blocking and 30th in pass protection by the analytic website Football Outsiders. New head coach Kyle Shanahan certainly will need to upgrade the line to make certain his new offensive scheme can operate efficiently.
One recent mock draft, in fact, has the 49ers selecting Alabama standout offensive tackle Cam Robinson – if they can trade down from the No. 2 overall selection. Robinson, a 6-foot-2, 322-pounder, could start immediately on the right side. That would give the 49ers a much deeper line, with Brown and Gilliam as backups – or in play to compete at guard.