Three-year pro offensive guard Joshua Garnett doesn’t appear to be a part of the San Francisco 49ers’ plans for the long term, but parting ways with him in 2019 might be premature.
That said, it’s still a major question whether or not parting ways with him before the 2019 season begins is a good idea.
Garnett, a first-round NFL Draft pick of the Niners back in 2016, didn’t exactly get off on the right foot with head coach Kyle Shanahan back in 2017. He missed all that year with a knee injury, which he re-aggravated in training camp last year. And with the 49ers bringing aboard a former Shanahan player, offensive lineman Mike Person, one a one-year deal for 2018, Garnett eventually found himself regularly inactive after he recovered from his knee injury.
In all, Garnett appeared in seven games in 2018. He saw a mere 59 total snaps, grading out with a 59.4 overall mark, according to Pro Football Focus.
Garnett, who was drafted by the previous Niners regime under then-general manager Trent Baalke, largely isn’t viewed as a fit in Shanahan’s zone-style offense. More of a power blocker, Garnett’s future with the franchise looks grim.
San Francisco hasn’t picked up Garnett’s fifth-year option. And while there’s still time to do so, cutting him before 2019 would save roughly $1.72 million in cap space while costing just under $1.25 million in dead money.
That appears marginal, so it wouldn’t be a shock if the Niners give Garnett one more chance to hang around this upcoming season.
There are other reasons, too. First, Person is a pending free agent. He seems to be a Shanahan favorite, starting all 16 games at right guard in 2018, and it wouldn’t be a shock if the 49ers re-sign him. More provocative, however, is the MCL injury suffered by left guard Laken Tomlinson in Week 17.
The good news is Tomlinson’s injury doesn’t require surgery, and indications point to him being ready by training camp. Any doubts there, however, almost mandate Garnett hang around into August.
All this could change, however, pending the 49ers’ actions in free agency and the NFL Draft.
Either way, don’t expect Garnett to be donning the red and gold beyond 2019. This tenure could easily come to a close sooner.
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