When this NFL free agency period is over, the re-signing of Ben Garland won’t be the headline for whatever the 49ers do or don’t accomplish.
The team will make much bigger moves.
Yet the one-year deal Garland has received to stay with the team gives the 49ers a solid and versatile piece for one of the team’s best assets, its offensive line.
Garland’s new contract is worth $2.25 million, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. It’s a big raise from what he received on a one-year deal in 2019, when the 49ers signed him for just over $800,000 total.
That signing was an under-the-radar move that paid big dividends late in the year.
Garland has played both center and guard in the NFL for the Broncos (2014) and Falcons (2016-18), and spent time with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Atlanta. The Niners expected to use Garland as a backup and fill-in piece in 2019.
But when starting center Weston Richburg was lost in December, Garland started three regular-season games and all three postseason games and played well, helping fuel a dynamic running attack with his ability to move and make blocks at the second level.
Richburg has dealt with injuries the past two seasons, so keeping Garland – who’s now proven he can be very effective – gives the 49ers important insurance in the middle of the line. Garland, too, seems excited to stay.
Upon signing his new deal, Garland posted a photo on Instagram of himself with his offensive linemates with the caption: “Can’t help but smile, I’m so happy to announce that I will be signing back with the 49ers this year. #grateful.”