The San Francisco 49ers can add right guard onto their to-do list with Adam Snyder signing with division rival’s Arizona Cardinals. Snyder spent his first six years in the NFL with the 49ers who selected him in the third-round of the 2005 draft. Snyder, who started 13 games at right guard after taking over for a struggling Chilo Rachal last season, signed a five-year deal with the Cardinals.
Snyder’s departure does create a hole at right guard. But more importantly, the 49ers lost out on one of the most versatile offensive linemen in the NFL. Not only did Snyder serve as the right guard last season he was also the backup center. To put Snyder’s versatility into perspective, of his 69 career starts with the 49ers, 21 were at right tackle, 21 at left tackle, 17 at right guard and ten at left tackle. No matter who takes over at right guard, there is no way he will match Snyder’s versatility.
The 49ers probably have reasons for letting Snyder walk, even to a division rival. With the terms of the deal not released at the time of this posting, it is not known if the 49ers were outbid by the Cardinals. That wouldn’t surprise me with Snyder being able to play effectively anywhere on the O- line.
With Snyder gone, the 49ers don’t have many in-house options to fill in at right guard. Guard Daniel Kilgore is only entering his second year and appeared in one game in the regular season, so he is not an option. Chilo Rachal is a free agent and could be brought back to the team, but something tells me the 49ers are ready to move on from the right guard. He has struggled ever since he was drafted in 2008, most recently with Snyder taking over last season.
On Tuesday, free agent guard Leonard Davis visited with the team. Davis is a three-time Pro Bowler however he did not appear in a game in the 2011 season. He has started in 155 games with the Cowboys and Cardinals.
49ers Sign Rock Cartwright
With LB Blake Costanzo signing with the Bears, the 49ers lost one of their best blocking and tackling special team’s players from last season. The move did not make sense at the time, but with the signing of free agent RB Rock Cartwright, the 49ers are in good hands. Cartwright is listed as a running back but his specialty is on special teams as tackler and returner. In the past two seasons he recorded 27 special-teams tackles and has a lot of experience returning kickoffs if he is needed. On 231 kickoff returns in his career he has averaged 23.6 yards. Cartwright spent the last two seasons with Raiders and was with the Redskins from 2006-2009.
Cartwright fills a big hole left by Costanzo on special teams. As a running back, Cartwright only has 228 carriers for 956 yards and six touchdowns in his career. He will be mainly used on special teams but with his 5-foot-7, 223 pound frame, he could be a great option in short-yardage situations. RB Antony Dixon failed in that department last season. Kendall Hunter and Frank Gore cannot always carry the load in short-yardage downs.
Veteran CB Shawntae Spencer Released
One of the longest serving 49ers, CB Shawntae Spencer, was released on Thursday. From 2004-2010 Spencer started 72 games for the 49ers. He only played in nine games in 2011 and was inactive in five games last season and in both playoff games. Spencer was penciled in as the starting cornerback in training camp but he suffered a hamstring injury at the start and in the regular season dealt with a toe injury. With the emergence of CB Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, Spencer became an afterthought at the position.