49ers roster 2024: Chris Hubbard a swing tackle or possible Day 1 starter?

Chris Hubbard at right tackle Colton McKivitz?

Don't rule it out.

Cleveland Browns right tackle Chris Hubbard (74)
Cleveland Browns right tackle Chris Hubbard (74) / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The 49ers inked veteran lineman Chris Hubbard during the offseason, and he could feasibly take over duties at right tackle.

Throughout the first few rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft, fans were clamoring for the San Francisco 49ers to grab an offensive tackle, which seemed like a strong likelihood, given the overall strength of the year's class for offensive linemen.

A prime reason? Finding an upgrade over incumbent right tackle Colton McKivitz, whom Pro Football Focus credited with having allowed nine sacks over the course of 2023.

But the Niners opted not to grab a tackle outright, instead choosing to reinforce the interior with rookie draftees Dominick Puni and Jarrett Kingston.

However, less than a month later, San Francisco inked a journeyman tackle, Chris Hubbard, to a one-year deal.

Hubbard, who just turned 33 years old, isn't a long-term solution. But the well-traveled lineman who broke into the league as an undrafted free-agent pickup of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2013 out of the University of Alabama (Birmingham), turned into a regular starter by 2017 prior to switching teams within the AFC North, starting 35 games with the Cleveland Browns between 2018 and 2022.

Last season, the 6-foot-4 and 295-pound lineman saw nine games with the Tennessee Titans, all of them starts.

What is Chris Hubbard's contract with the 49ers?

The 49ers invested $1.378 million into the deal with Hubbard, $467,500 of which is guaranteed.

That's a decent amount of guaranteed cash for a player likely viewed as a reserve, meaning Hubbard has a better-than-good chance of making the 53-man roster out of training camp.

Could Chris Hubbard bump Colton McKivitz out of a starting job?

Despite fans' concerns over McKivitz, the Niners appear content with his abilities, indicated by the fact they didn't use any draft picks on a clear-cut upgrade, nor did they spend significant money toward landing someone in free agency.

McKivitz is signed through 2025, too, which suggests San Francisco would prefer some continuity instead of another change to the starting lineup.

That said, Hubbard allowed four sacks over those nine games last season, per PFF, and the split is proportionally slightly less than what McKivitz gave up in full-time duties.

The 49ers will likely keep an open mind about Hubbard potentially beating McKivitz in a bid to start this season, but the smart money would be on the latter winning this competition, leaving Hubbard to serve as the Niners' primary swing tackle, someone who could spell either McKivitz or All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams in case of injury.

Read more from Niner Noise