NFL free agency: The biggest swing 49ers could take at center

49ers fans could give a round of applause if their team signs Will Clapp.

Chicago Bears v Los Angeles Chargers
Chicago Bears v Los Angeles Chargers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Another position worthy of attention by the San Francisco 49ers is the offensive line. While the vast majority of the front line for the offense is under contract, versatile lineman Jon Feliciano is currently unsigned for 2024.

The seven-year veteran just completed his one-year deal worth $2.25 million but had a cap hit of $1 million more than that. Feliciano is in on the wrong side of 30 years old.

Thus, signing an affordable option who is a few years younger can serve as a bridge at center until one is drafted, groomed and ready to take over.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Will Clapp to the Bay Area!

Assuming the Niners offer Clapp a contract, this would benefit both parties. San Francisco saves money by not having to pay out $2 million for a center over 30 years old, and it could land an upgrade over incumbent center Jake Brendel.

Furthermore, a talented and capable athlete has a chance to compete on a playoff team with Super Bowl aspirations.

The LSU product was drafted in 2018 by the New Orleans Saints. Playing his first four seasons for the Saints near his alma mater, Clapp would go on to sign a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Though this second team in the NFL made the playoffs his first year playing for them, the squad failed to qualify for the postseason after a disappointing 5-12 season. This could leave any free agent preferring to take less money to play for a contender.

The 49ers are banking on team-friendly veteran contracts knowing they can offer the allure of deep playoff runs in place of big money. They do not have an excess of money to spend on marquee names.

Some of those free-agent names include Andre James (Raiders), Lloyd Cushenberry (Broncos) and the recently released Mitch Morse (Bills) all are very coveted centers outside of the price range for San Francisco.

That is why Clapp is a viable option, short term or long term.

If the Miami Dolphins' Connor Williams does not find a new home while recovering from an ACL injury suffered during Week 14, he may be a cheap option if medically cleared and able to play in 2024.

But for now, Clapp can give San Francisco a hand, or two, to its offensive line under center.

Read more from Niner Noise