Sometimes, competitive teams like the San Francisco 49ers have to make tough decisions.
However, those decisions get less frequent and less difficult when players are able to meet the team halfway to keep their place in the team, as offensive lineman Tom Compton did on Friday.
Per the NFL’s Field Yates, the 49ers and Compton worked out a restructured contract, which will see the lineman make a over a $1 million less in the 2020 season, but can earn the money back through playing incentives.
The 49ers and veteran OL Tom Compton agreed to a reworked contract in which his base salary drops to $1.05M from $2.15M with the chance still to earn money through bonuses. Likely ensures his spot on the roster as a projected backup.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 4, 2020
It makes perfect sense on both ends of the deal, and as Yates points out, it all but locks in Compton as a member of the 49ers’ final 53-man roster, which will be announced tomorrow.
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Compton’s Role with the 49ers
Signed this offseason after Compton’s single season with the New York Jets, the veteran offers just about everything you could want out of a backup offensive lineman.
While Compton’s experience is certainly a major plus, his greatest asset is the fact that he’s played all over the line as well. While Compton is an interior-focused player, spending most of his time at right guard and left guard, he can also be flexed out to a tackle spot.
This is best evidenced by the fact that Washington started Compton at right tackle for nine games in 2014. However, the 49ers will likely be in dire straights if the team is needing an aging guard to start at either tackle position.
Compton checks all the boxes, and he’s even more affordable with the new restructured contract, which ensures that the 49ers will only have to shell out around a $1 million for his services if all goes well and he remains the backup, while only upping the ante to just over $2 million should Compton be thrusted into a starting spot.
State of the 49ers OL
With Compton locked into a roster spot, it makes it a bit easier to get an idea of the exact offensive line personnel that San Francisco will start the season with.
The starting positions, should everyone remain healthy are fairly certain at this point, with seven-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams at left tackle and team-favorite Mike McGlinchey at right tackle.
On the interior, Laken Tomlinson and Daniel Brunskill are looking as certain favorites for the guard spots, but with center Weston Richburg likely to be out for the first six weeks of the season and backup Ben Garland also dealing with injury, there are some questions to be answered.
Joining Garland and Compton as backups will likely be tackle Justin Skule and 2020 NFL draft fifth-rounder Colton McKivitz, who, like Compton, can shift to the inside or outside depending on what the team needs.
The 49ers likely won’t bring on any more than 9 total offensive lineman, and they shouldn’t have to. Any good NFL teams selects flexible backups, and the 49ers have them in spades ahead of 2020.
San Francisco just has to stay healthy.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the NFL for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.