49ers free agency moves suggest they’re confident in Mike McGlinchey

San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (69) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (69) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers apparently seem poised to believe right tackle Mike McGlinchey will return 100 percent from his quad injury suffered last year.

The San Francisco 49ers just saw one of the most important pieces from their 2021 offensive line, Pro Bowl left guard Laken Tomlinson, depart in the opening salvo of NFL free agency this offseason.

Tomlinson, who is off to the New York Jets on a lucrative three-year, $40 million deal, leaves a sizable hole the Niners hope to fill with second-year pro Aaron Banks.

But that’s far from the only question San Francisco needs to address along its O-line.

One could fairly wonder if the 49ers want to commit to their first-round NFL Draft pick from 2018, right tackle Mike McGlinchey, for the long run. Yet he’ll be around on his fully guaranteed fifth-year option in 2022, the only major question being whether or not he’ll be fully recovered from the torn quad he suffered a year ago in Week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals that forced him to miss the rest of the year and to undergo surgery.

Speaking from the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine (h/t 49ers Webzone), general manager John Lynch expressed confidence in McGlinchey being able to return at 100 percent:

"Mike’s doing well. He had a significant surgery to repair that quad tendon. But just as Mike has always done, he attacks everything 100 percent, and his rehab is going really well.So, we’re pleased with his progress. We’re going to give him the time he needs, so not only [does] he gets back, but he gets back and is pain-free, and can play like we believe he’s capable of playing."

McGlinchey, an average pass blocker at best, is nevertheless a high-quality run-blocking option.

But the Niners’ actions in NFL free agency (or inaction, in this case) suggest they’re banking on him being back by the time Week 1 rolls around.

49ers didn’t make any NFL free agency moves to replace Mike McGlinchey

San Francisco elected to replace McGlinchey’s spot in the starting lineup with veteran lineman Tom Compton, who ended up starting seven games last year, and like McGlinchey, was far more effective in run support than in pass protection.

Compton ended up signing with the Denver Broncos, though, and it doesn’t appear as if the 49ers were aggressively looking to bring him back as McGlinchey insurance again.

On top of that, the Niners elected not to add any offensive linemen via NFL free agency, which is further evidence they’re confident McGlinchey will be back healthy.

Read More: No, 49ers won’t trade Mike McGlinchey this offseason

Yes, it’s possible San Francisco is also confident in contingency options already on the roster, namely Colton McKivitz, Jaylon Moore and Justin Skule, the latter who missed all of 2021 with a torn ACL.

Those three aren’t exactly high-quality options, though, and none should be expected to fill McGlinchey’s shoes as a full-time starter.

If that’s the case, and especially if the 49ers don’t use a relatively high pick in the 2022 draft on a tackle, one could pretty much assume the team feels good enough with McGlinchey’s recovery ahead of this summer.

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