49ers Make Crucial Decision on Restricted Free Agent’s Future

Colton McKivitz, San Francisco 49ers

Getty Colton McKivitz hugging his San Francisco 49ers teammate Jauan Jennings.

With the start of regular free agency rapidly approaching, the San Francisco 49ers have decided to address one of their impending restricted free agents in Colton McKivitz, agreeing to a new two-year contract worth $5.8 million.

Had the 49ers opted to simply offer McKivitz his restricted free agent tender, the team would have been on the hook for $4.3 million in 2023, according to Akash Anavarathan, so this deal provides the team with an extra year to develop the fifth-round pick out of West Virginia into a true Mike McGlinchey replacement without having to worry about him leaving in free agency next spring, too.

While some fans online were surprised to see McKivitz agree to a multi-year deal, as they assumed this meant the team wasn’t going to address the position further moving forward, but as David Lombardi of The Athletic pointed out on Twitter, that isn’t necessarily the case.

“Does re-signing Colton McKivitz to a 2-year deal mean indicate he’ll start at RT if Mike McGlinchey does indeed depart?” Lombardi wrote. “No, not necessarily. This is a cost-saving move vs the RFA tender that should allow the 49ers to further bolster the tackle position. Maybe Billy Turner?”

Will the 49ers further address the position grouping with a player like Billy Turner, who played for the Denver Broncos in 2022? Or could they instead look to take a player like Spencer Burford, who played tackle in college, and kick him outside to McGlinchey’s former spot? Or maybe still John Lynch could use one or more of his three compensatory picks in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft to target the offensive line and reconfigure the line depending on which players are available? Regardless, McKivitz is in that mix for the next two years, and the 49ers were wise to invest in his services long-term.

Colton McKivitz’s Contract Shouldn’t Shock San Francisco 49ers fans

In a joint article with Lombardi for The Athletic called “State of the 49ers, OL: Progress made, but even more investment is necessary,” Matt Barrows actually noted that the 49ers could opt to sign McKivitz to a multi-year deal in order to push his unrestricted free agency further into the future.

“When the season ended, Jaylon Moore was Williams’ backup at left tackle while Colton McKivitz was McGlinchey’s understudy on the right side,” Barrows said. “McKivitz is scheduled to be a restricted free agent next month. If he becomes McGlinchey’s 2023 replacement, the team could consider a long-term deal in order to avoid being in the same predicament next year.”

With Moore and McKivitz now both set to return in 2023, with the prospects of do-it-all lineman Daniel Brunskill still in play to return as well, the 49ers will have optionality when it comes to their offensive line regardless of how free agency and the draft shakes out.

Trent Williams Likes What he Sees in Colton McKivitz

Discussing McKivitz’s development from a fifth-round pick out of West Virginia to a player capable of starting a crucial game against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18 of the 2021 NFL season with Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, Trent Williams had nothing but praise for his fellow offensive tackle.

“The reason he was in that position to be put in to start a game for anybody symbolizes how hard he’s worked to get to this position,” Williams said. “It wasn’t like he was a first- or second-round draft pick.”

“He wasn’t designated a roster spot. He worked his butt off. He put in the type of work and made the types of leaps and bounds that everybody recognizes.”

Unlike McGlinchey, who was drafted in the first round and expected to start for the 49ers right away, McKivitz took the long way to earning playing time for the 49ers. If he can parlay those glimpses of strong play into a starting spot, it will make for one of the great success stories of the 2020 NFL draft.

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