The San Francisco 49ers made two meaningful decisions for their offensive line this week, signing one utility lineman while saying goodbye to a tight end on whom the team took a flyer in January.
David Lombardi, of The Athletic, took to Twitter on Tuesday, April 13 to report that the 49ers would bring back Daniel Brunskill who has been with the team for the previous two seasons.
Daniel Brunskill signed his ERFA tender from the 49ers and he’ll officially make an $850,000 salary in 2021. (Brunskill had no choice unless he wanted to sit out the 2021 season) He obviously comes at an ultimate bargain rate
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) April 13, 2021
Brunskill signed a one-year tender worth $850,000, according to Lombardi. The salary hit appears low, considering the 27-year-old offensive lineman is considered likely to win a starting spot at the right guard position, per SBNATION.
Brunskill made $495,000 in 2019, his first year with the 49ers, and was paid $675,000 in 2020.
Brunskill Started at Four Positions in Two Years For 49ers
Two words best describe Brunskill’s career in the Bay Area to this point — reliability and variety.
In 2019, he started seven games at left tackle, right tackle and right guard after signing with the injury-riddled unit in April.
Last season, he played across the entire line, including starts at the center position. Brunskill did not miss a start in 2020, on his way to earning a rating of 61.7 from Pro Football Focus.
According to the SBNATION report referenced above, the 49ers projected starters on the offensive line around Brunskill will include Mike McGlinchey, Alex Mack, Laken Tomlinson and Trent Williams.
49ers Part Ways With Tight End After Short-Lived Relationship
One player who will not be joining Brunskill and company on the offensive line is tight end Chase Harrell.
The 49ers signed Harrell to a reserve/future contract in early January. However, the team has decided to move in a different direction at the position, announcing Tuesday that it had released the 24-year-old tight end.
George Kittle is the star of the show at the tight end position for the 49ers, considered one of the best in all of football when he isn’t sidelined due to injury. Behind Kittle on the depth chart currently are Ross Dwelley, Charlie Woerner and Daniel Helm.
Dwelley caught 19 passes for 245 yards last season to complement one touchdown grab. Woerner caught only three passes for 36 yards and did not find the end zone. Helm did not see the field in 2020. All the above statistics are per ESPN.
The 49ers are less likely to use draft capital in 2020 on the tight end position considering they have a star in his prime to fill the starting role. However, beefing up the offensive line alongside Brunskill and company has been noted as a likely area of focus for the 49ers come draft night.
Thus, new additions to the offensive line are likely by early next month. However, locking up Brunskill for at least one more year should help the 49ers get back to the success they found in 2019, when Brunskill lined up against the Kansas City Chiefs defensive front in Super Bowl LIV.