The San Francisco 49ers recently announced that Daniel Kilgore, a guard/center, has been extended through the 2017 season. His 3-year extension has an impact for other players on the 49ers’ offensive line.
First and foremost, it almost guarantees that the 49ers and Trent Baalke are ready to move on from an outstanding fill-in center in Jonathon Goodwin. Goodwin played well the past two seasons, but is aging and the 49ers, unsurprisingly, are wanting to shift towards a younger, cheaper team–especially where it is relatively easy to do so. Kilgore has shown ability and will in all probability be a starter for years to come. There is no alternative option as likely to succeed at positions such as wide receiver or safety.
Mike Iupati also appears to be ever more replaceable after this contract extension for Kilgore. Iupati will likely want a large contract after this season, when his current deal expires. He could likely obtain it too–but not in the cardinal and gold. Baalke does not like paying more than he feels he should. There is no reason for him to change his philosophy for a lineman when he can simply draft another this year, give the player a year to grow and develop in a rotation, and plug him in as the starter a year from now. When Tarell Brown wanted too much money, Tramaine Brock got the contract extension instead. I see a similar thing happening here.
The 49ers will likely continue to draft offensive linemen in the mid-to-late rounds–Kilgore was a 5th-rounder–and give them time to develop. It appears they may finally be taking over as starters rather than rotational players, however, as money speaks quite loudly in the NFL.