No. 3: 49ers Offensive Guard Laken Tomlinson
Since joining the Niners via a trade back in 2017, left guard Laken Tomlinson has been the model of consistency and reliability. Aside from some shaky moments upon joining San Francisco early that year, there have been relatively few complaints from the Detroit Lions’ former first-round pick, turned effective 49ers blocker.
And, yes. There’s a great chance he winds up being a cap casualty, too.
This won’t happen in 2020, of course. San Francisco already shook up its offensive line by seeing left tackle Joe Staley retire and parting ways with right guard Mike Person, the latter being for cap purposes and performance questions.
Yet Tomlinson could receive a similar fate as Person did, albeit in 2021 when he’s scheduled to receive zero in guaranteed money and would generate $5 million in cap space if he ends up being cut.
The 2020 NFL Draft is pretty deep with quality offensive linemen to be had on day two, meaning the 49ers could look for a cheaper option there while generating some much-needed cap space.
Tomlinson didn’t do anything wrong in this case, rather the Niners simply have to get cheaper where they can and generate those inexpensive rookie contracts instead.