The 49ers’ offensive tackle position has a bit more clarity with free agency (and quite possibly, a notable departure) approaching. Per a team announcement, San Francisco has re-signed Colton McKivitz to a two-year deal.
The 26-year-old was set to be a restricted free agent, but he will now remain in the Bay Area for what could be a time of increased responsibility for him. McKivitz has made 28 appearances in his three seasons with the 49ers, including five starts while operating as the team’s swing tackle over the past two years. He has also seen action in five playoff contests.
San Francisco has Trent Williams – who confirmed last month that he will not be retiring – in place as their blindside protector. However, right tackle Mike McGlinchey is scheduled to hit free agency, and while his comments regarding a deal left the door open to his 49ers tenure continuing, a discounted price for the team is not thought to be on the table.
As a result, McGlinchey is expected to price himself out of San Francisco as arguably the top RT option on the market this year. The 49ers currently sit in the bottom half of the league in terms of cap space with the new league year around the corner, and have a number of other priorities than keeping the former ninth overall pick in the fold on a second contract.
Presuming McGlinchey heads elsewhere next week, McKivitz could be in line to assume the starting right tackle role. The latter has only taken 26 snaps at that position to date, after he spent considerable time as a right guard during his rookie season and stepped in for Williams on occasion when he was sidelined by injury. McKivitz took a step forward in 2022 with a career-best PFF grade of 69.3 (excelling in pass blocking in particular), albeit in limited game action.
The former fifth-rounder can now turn his attention to the 2023 season and the opportunity, in all likelihood, to at least compete for a starting role on a 49ers offensive line which figures to look different by the start of next season.