Will the 49ers Upgrade at Right Guard?

Mike Person has been an important piece of a strong offensive line, but team could consider releasing him

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Mike Person has given the 49ers everything he has. He was a big part of their success in 2019.

The journeyman offensive lineman has been a consistent, two-year starter for the 49ers at right guard after bouncing around the NFL with the Seahawks, Rams, Falcons and Colts from 2012-2017 – after originally being drafted by San Francisco in 2011 out of Montana State.

And, Person has been a bargain. After starting for all of 2018 with the Niners, Person signed a three-year contract worth as much as $8.25 million and is in line to get about $2.2 million in 2020 and $2.7 million in 2021.

Person was a key member of a fine offensive line in 2019 that helped the NFL’s No. 2 rushing attack.

But as the 49ers approach the start of the veteran free-agency season and the draft, the team must figure out a way to get better while also staying under the salary cap, and it’s possible Person could be a salary-cap casualty, suggests Nichols McGee of Sports Illustrated.

McGee points to Person’s struggles in the Super Bowl loss to Kansas City, when the Chiefs interior defensive line was disruptive – especially defensive tackle Chris Jones.

"Person’s struggles on the interior of the offensive line were stark," he wrote, "with the pressure that led to Jimmy Garoppolo’s first interception conceded by the veteran right guard."

A lot of guards, however, have trouble with Jones, one of the league’s best at his position.

By releasing Person, the team would save more than $2 million and allow Daniel Brunskill – who played very well in a versatile role, backing up both Person and right tackle Mike McGlinchey when they were injured – to compete for the right-guard spot. The 49ers also could draft a guard to provide some cheaper competition as well.

Though Person’s contract isn’t huge, the extra money from his contract could help the franchise keep more expensive players such as wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders or defensive lineman Arik Armstead as they approach free agency.

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