Right now, it looks like Jake Brendel is the starting center for the 49ers. If you’re asking, “Who is that?”, you’re not the only one.
Brendel has been a mainstay on the 49ers roster for the last two years, and now entering his third, it looks as if he has a golden opportunity to take over the center role from the recently retired Alex Mack.
The set-up in training camp was to have Brendel compete for the role with others, but a hamstring injury sidelined Daniel Brunskill and will keep him out into September. The 49ers also failed to make any major young investments at the position, which means Brendel’s path is as clear as ever before in his six-year career.
Brendel was a journeyman who found his way onto the rosters of the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, and Denver Broncos in years past. However, he’s now well-versed in Shanahan’s system with little competition at present. Given that the team hasn’t made any major overtures for further veteran help, it’s likely a good sign that Shanahan feels comfortable moving forward with Brendel at center.
While the 49ers might invest in a new long-term solution next season, Brendel now has his single greatest opportunity to really prove he belongs with San Francisco in 2022. No matter where he plays, a bigger and better payday could be waiting for him in the process.