Few were surprised when the 49ers declined guard Joshua Garnett‘s fifth-year option for the 2020 season. The former first-round pick still has one year to go on his original four-year rookie deal, but it’s not a given that he’ll be with the club in 2019.
The Niners used the No. 28 pick to select Garnett in 2016, but they’ve yet to see much from him at the pro level. The Stanford product started in eleven of his 15 games as a rookie, but even then, his performance was underwhelming – Garnett racked up penalties and didn’t excel in run blocking or pass blocking. He then missed all of 2017 after undergoing knee surgery and only saw action as a reserve in seven games last year. At a rate of $10.35MM, it made little sense to keep Garnett for 2020, especially since the option would have been guaranteed for injury.
This year, Garnett is said to be healthy, but that ensures little in terms of performance. If he stumbles in training camp this year, the Niners could conceivably cut him to save $1.7MM against $1.2MM in dead money.
For now, Garnett will push to beat out Mike Person for a starting job on the interior line. Ultimately, however, he could be pushed off of the 53-man roster altogether.
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