49ers would be foolish not to pursue this top-notch free-agent lineman

While the 49ers have a few notable offseason needs, grabbing offensive line help has to be a priority.

Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Robert Hunt
Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Robert Hunt / Bryan Bennett/GettyImages
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The 49ers may be pressed to land big-name free agents, but this offensive lineman would be worth pursuing.

The San Francisco 49ers aren't likely to be heavy-duty players in NFL free agency this offseason. After all, according to Over the Cap, they're currently $12.56 million above the cap and will need to find ways to whittle that number down before the start of the league new year in March.

That'll make it tough for general manager John Lynch to be aggressive on the open market when free agency begins at the same time.

However, the Niners still have some pressing needs, and free agency might be the way to address them.

Especially the offensive line.

While All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams is a stalwart, the rest of the O-line was comparably weak, especially on the right side. At the end of the year, Pro Football Focus ranked San Francisco's O-line 21st in the league despite Williams' presence.

So, one might figure the 49ers address this this offseason, right?

49ers should target this O-lineman in NFL free agency (ESPN agrees)

The Niners are set well enough at left guard with Aaron Banks, but the right guard spot is very much in question.

Last season, San Francisco experimented with a platoon between Spencer Burford and Jon Feliciano, the latter performing well enough but who's also a free agent and had some online spats with Burford after Super Bowl 58.

An upgrade over either player is soon-to-be free-agent Miami Dolphins guard Robert Hunt.

Hunt, who'll turn 28 years old this offseason, has experience in a similar offense underneath head coach Mike McDaniel, who stems from 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan's coaching tree. Injuries limited him to 11 games last season. But other than that, he's been a mainstay on Miami's O-line.

ESPN's Matt Bowen (h/t Kyle Madson of Niners Wire) went through the league's top 50 pending free agents, and Hunt broke the list at No. 14 overall while also suggesting the Niners would be an ideal fit:

"The 49ers can upgrade at the right guard position with Hunt, who in Miami showed he has the ability to win in pass protection and the skill set to block in multiple run schemes. That’s a fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense, which needs help on the offensive line; San Francisco was 20th in pass block win rate last season (55.6%)."

Related story: 5 contracts holding the 49ers back right now

Guards typically command far less money on the open market than tackles, and OTC valued Hunt's 2023 campaign at $4.245 million.

That's affordable, even if the Niners are dealing with some cap issues at the moment.

Considering San Francisco's O-line is the weak link on an otherwise prolific offense, going after some experience by adding Hunt makes too much sense.

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