49ers roster: Top remaining free-agent tackles on the market

Donovan Smith #76 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Donovan Smith #76 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

The 49ers seem to have a contingency plan in place for now-Broncos right tackle Mike McGlinchey, but NFL free agency could still provide options.

As soon as the San Francisco 49ers’ 2022 season came to a close, it already appeared to be a foregone conclusion they’d watch right tackle Mike McGlinchey depart via NFL free agency after five years with the team.

McGlinchey is off to the Denver Broncos now, and the Niners’ corresponding moves to alleviate his loss included the following:

  • Re-signing reserve lineman Colton McKivitz to a two-year deal
  • Signing former Giants lineman Jon Feliciano to a one-year deal

Perhaps Feliciano replaces now-Tennessee Titans lineman Daniel Brunskill in an “uber reserve” kind of role. Or, possibly, Feliciano starts at right guard and second-year pro Spencer Burford kicks out to tackle in place of McGlinchey.

Or it’s up to McKivitz to rise to the occasion.

All that said, San Francisco still has some options in NFL free agency. While the opening wave is complete, and the 49ers aren’t likely to make too many more splash signings, waiting longer could ultimately lead to better bargains for general manager John Lynch and Co.

Read More: 49ers NFL free agency tracker: Who’s coming, going in 2023?

If getting a new right tackle is on the docket, perhaps one of these five best-remaining free agents would make sense.

49ers free-agent target No. 5: George Fant

There’s a reason why the New York Jets aren’t too keen on keeping tackle George Fant, who spent the bulk of 2022 at right tackle but has the experience to play on the left side, too.

Fant gave up five sacks and 27 quarterback pressures last season, per Pro Football Focus, and his overall grade was a lowly 48.4.

That said, Gang Green operates a similar offense as that of the Niners (remember, former Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur stemmed from head coach Kyle Shanahan’s coaching tree).

Perhaps the soon-to-be 31-year-old Fant would fit right in.

49ers free-agent target No. 4: Brandon Shell

If we’re linking players to coaches and systems that aren’t unlike that of San Francisco’s, right tackle Brandon Shell should be on the list.

After two years with the Seattle Seahawks, Shell held down the right side of the Miami Dolphins’ offensive line in 2022 under first-year head coach Mike McDaniel and earned a respectable 64.9 overall grade from PFF as a result.

With McDaniel’s system coming over from the 49ers, Shell shouldn’t have too much difficulty acclimating, and he’d likely be just as cheap as Fant.

49ers free-agent target No. 3: Cameron Fleming

McGlinchey effectively pushed out former Broncos right tackle Cameron Fleming, who at 30 years old, won’t offer up much of an age advantage over the previous two suggestions but will at least have some serious time split between both tackle spots.

The Niners could use a veteran to back up All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams in case of injury, and at least Fleming would have that ability if needed.

Solid in both pass protection and run blocking, Fleming would be an easy stopgap addition at right tackle.

49ers free-agent target No. 2: Donovan Smith

Perhaps it’s a bit of a shock that former Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith is still unsigned at this point.

Still viewed as one of the better linemen in the NFL today, the Bucs can’t bring Smith back because of their own salary cap constraints.

But that shouldn’t stop more than a few teams in need of O-line help from looking at the 29-year-old Smith closely.

If there’s a challenge for San Francisco, Smith is almost exclusively a left tackle, and the 49ers don’t need help there. And convincing him to move to the opposite end of the line might be a difficult proposition.

49ers free-agent target No. 1: Isaiah Wynn

Former New England Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn would probably benefit from a change of scenery after bouncing back and forth between left tackle and right tackle, and it hasn’t helped that he’s dealt with injuries, recently.

That said, the 27-year-old veteran could be a much smoother acquisition on the cheap, especially given his fit in a zone-style offense.

If the Niners liked what they saw and felt he’d be worth a low-cost investment, the right side of the line would be shored up almost instantly.

Next. Former 49ers who surprisingly remain unsigned. dark