The San Francisco 49ers didn’t take long to keep one crucial member of the offense around for one more year.
And this player officially becomes the first notable signing of the 2022 free agent period of March for the ‘Niners, plus comes just one week before free agents can be signed during the cycle that begins March 16.
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Jake Brendel signed to a one-year extension with the 49ers, the team website confirmed on Wednesday, March 9.
One 49ers insider says the move comes off the heels of the backup center doing some impressive and important work for the 49ers.
Brendel Left Lasting Impression on 49ers Early
Per 49ers insider David Lombardi of The Athletic, the 6-foot-4, 299-pound Brendel caught the attention of the 49er coaches and front office in a good way: Through his late July/August work.
“Jake Brendel impressed the 49ers last training camp/preseason. He carved out a spot on the 53-man roster at the very important center position,” Lombardi tweeted.
Now, there’s this expectation Lombardi has:
“Brendel now becomes the first 2022 signing that I project to make this season’s 53-man roster,” Lombardi said.
Brendel first came to the 49ers on February 7, 2020. However, he became a COVID-19 opt out and sat out the entire season. In his return to the team, plus his 49ers debut, Brendel went on to log 16 regular season games and saw action in all three playoff games for the 49ers.
Before his NFL career began, Brendel starred at UCLA — where head coach Kyle Shanahan began his coaching career in 2003 as a graduate assistant. He established himself as a collegiate ironman in Westwood: He started in every game from 2012 to 2015, which was a school record 52 straight starts for the Bruins.
He entered the league as an undrafted free agent, first signing with the Dallas Cowboys on May 6, 2016 — which brought the native of Plano back to his home state of Texas. Brendel was eventually released by the Cowboys on September 29, 2016.
From there, Brendel had stops with the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad and was elevated to the 53-man roster on November 19, 2016. From 2016 to 2018, Brendel squeezed in three starts with the Dolphins before getting released in 2019.
There are fans who are welcoming the key signing made by the 49ers.
But his signing comes with new perception in the Bay Area.
49ers May Not Need Center Help After All
Bleacher Report released their newest mock draft following the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday and inserted Dylan Parham of Memphis as the projected draft pick at No. 61 to the 49ers — meaning they believe the team would go with a potential center option in case Alex Mack walked away or the team needed his successor.
But with Brendel now on a one-year extension, Akash Anavarathan of SB Nation’s Niners Nation has the belief that drafting a center won’t be a priority with Brendel and Mack expected to return.
Parham, however, could still be an option at guard with Laken Tomlinson and Tom Compton both unrestricted free agents.