49ers Tabbed to Replace Prized Free Agent With Super Bowl Winner


Getty George Kittle and Mike McGlinchey on October 18, 2020 in Santa Clara.

There were no franchise tags given out by the San Francisco 49ers, which officially means right tackle Mike McGlinchey is set to walk away via free agency.

To prioritize a replacement for the prized run blocker, Joe Tansey of Bleacher Report on Wednesday, March 8 believes the first option is one who not only has a tackle background, but is the owner of a Super Bowl ring: Free agent Donovan Smith of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who was released by the team on Tuesday, March 7.

Smith Coming Off Down Year, but That Could Benefit 49ers Analyst Writes

Smith is credited for helping keep the game day uniform worn by Tom Brady clean in the 2020 postseason, as he’s now one of the last offensive linemen to win a Super Bowl ring alongside the seven-time champion Brady.

However, Smith is coming off a down 2022 season, which involved 12 penalties called on him and surrendering six sacks per Pro Football Focus — which was more than his 2021 total. But as Tansey writes, “that may play to the benefit of the 49ers.”

The reason? McGlinchey’s value will likely make him hard to lure back in as Spotrac is projecting $14.8 million annually and a four-year, $59.4 million deal.

“San Francisco may not be able to re-sign McGlinchey, or go after the other premier free-agent offensive tackle Kaleb McGary,” Tansey writes. “The 49ers only have $7 million within the salary cap to work with at the moment, per Spotrac. That could change in the coming days with restructured deals and other mechanisms to open up more money.

“They still won’t be able to chase the top free agents, so they will have to find the right fits with lower-valued players, or take a risk on someone like Smith who is coming off a down season,” Tansey continued. “The priority at the start of free agency should be to find a McGlinchey replacement, so that the 49ers can approach other areas of need in the NFL draft.”

Adding a veteran like Smith, even at a lesser value, would prevent the 49ers from hoping a high quality college prospect tackle falls to them at the No. 99 spot.

“Adding a veteran tackle to partner Trent Williams is imperative with a young quarterback in the pocket in 2023, whether it be Brock Purdy or Trey Lance,” Tansey said.

One More Super Bowl Champ Also an Option

For a 49ers team with an opportunity to reload the offensive line, there will be past Super Bowl winners on the free agent market including Smith.

But one other option Tansey mentioned is tackle Andrew Wylie, who played in three Super Bowls with the Kansas City Chiefs and has won two rings. Tansey writes:

“Andrew Wylie could be the ideal value signing at offensive tackle.

The 28-year-old is not in the top tier of offensive tackle free agents, such as Orlando Brown, Kaleb McGary and Mike McGlinchey.

Those three players might be off the market early in free agency because of how wanted they could be by other teams with offensive-line needs.

The 49ers could lock in on Wylie to fill their right tackle void at an inexpensive price.”

Wylie would bring versatility to the line — always a winning sell for offensive linemen and teams seeking trench help. The 6-foot-5, 304-pounder bounced between both guard spots and right tackle, McGlinchey’s spot that will soon be vacated.

The downside with Wylie is that he surrendered nine sacks in 2022 per PFF. And that was in 1,276 snaps at right tackle. However, he didn’t allow a single sack during the postseason and kept a fierce Philadelphia Eagles pass rush, which led the NFL in sacks, in check during Super Bowl 57. And that included handling the Eagles’ top pass rushing threat Hasson Reddick — who was seen getting planted to the ground and enduring one of his worst games of the season with Wylie largely responsible for that.

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