Daniel Brunskill

Latest On Titans’ RG, RT Position Battles

The Titans and new offensive line coach Bill Callahan have quite a few familiar faces to work with in 2024, but there could be some big changes along the offensive line. A couple of position battles have developed in the early days of the offseason, according to Titans senior writer/editor Jim Wyatt.

The team utilized Daniel Brunskill and Dillon Radunz mostly at right guard and right tackle, respectively, last year, but neither player seems to be solid in their job security. Brunskill has lost his starting job before in San Francisco. After earning a starting job partway through his rookie season, Brunskill started two more years for the 49ers. In 2022, Brunskill found himself coming off the bench in favor of then-rookie Spencer Burford. He started 14 games for the Titans last year. Radunz finally earned his opportunity to start at right tackle last year after failing to win the job his first two seasons and being forced to work as a backup guard.

Radunz’s tenure as the starting right tackle may already be coming to an end, though, as Wyatt sees Nicholas Petit-Frere taking back the job in 2024. Petit-Frere started his rookie season at right tackle for the team in 2022, but a combination of a suspension for violating the league’s gambling policy and a stint on injured reserve restricted him to only three games last season. Wyatt predicts that, given a healthy recovery, Petit-Frere will reclaim his starting job and push Radunz back to guard-duty.

Wyatt sees free agent addition Saahdiq Charles as the biggest threat to Brunskill’s job. Despite being limited in how much offensive linemen can do in organized team activities, Charles has reportedly had a very good spring. Charles comes from Washington where he started 10 of 11 game appearances at left guard last year after only starting eight games in his first three years combined. He’s looked the part enough in Tennessee to convince Wyatt that a change could be in effect.

It’s still a competition, though, and Wyatt notes that Charles will have to beat out Brunskill, and potentially Radunz should he get pushed back inside, for the job. He notes that the right tackle position will be a battle, as well, and though Petit-Frere and Radunz will get first looks, Leroy Watson, Jaelyn Duncan, and the newly acquired Geron Christian will all be in the mix, as well.

The rest of the line seems set. Peter Skoronski is reportedly likely to stay inside at left guard, the team drafted Alabama’s JC Latham in the first round to start at left tackle, and they signed Lloyd Cushenberry to start at center. While battles are set to ensue, the expectation is that some combination of two of Charles, Petit-Frere, Radunz, and Brunskill will be alongside them on the right side of the line in 2024.

Latest On Peter Skoronski, Titans’ O-Line

Entering Week 1, the Titans will have four new offensive line starters. The team’s plan was only to make three changes up front, but Nicholas Petit-Frere‘s six-game gambling suspension will force a temporary change at right tackle.

Andre Dillard is expected to start at left tackle, seeing as the ex-Eagles first-round pick signed a three-year, $29MM deal. Tennessee will also return 17-game guard starter Aaron Brewer, but the fourth-year blocker — who received a second-round RFA tender — confirmed earlier this offseason the team is planning to slide him to center. This will leave three spots open, with two likely starters’ positions to be determined.

UFA addition Daniel Brunskill has experience at both guard and tackle, and TennesseeTitans.com’s Jim Wyatt notes the ex-49er starter/swingman will be an option to start the season at right tackle. First-round pick Peter Skoronski also fits this profile, though he has less experience at guard. But the acclaimed Northwestern tackle is also in the mix to fill in for Petit-Frere to start the season.

The plan for Skoronski appeared to be a shift to guard. The No. 11 overall pick spent most of his offseason working at guard, per Wyatt, though the Titans have also gave him tackle reps during their offseason program. A number of NFL evaluators viewed Skoronski as a clear-cut guard candidate, but the former Big Ten blocker did not play guard in college.

It would be an interesting assignment for Skoronski to start the season at right tackle before kicking inside. Tennessee might aim to simplify the top prospect’s rookie-year workload by stationing him at guard only during training camp, but for now, an O-line configuration with Dillard and Skoronski as the bookends remains in play. Regardless of where Skoronski lines up, the team expects him to start immediately.

Jamarco Jones, sixth-round pick Jaelyn Duncan and 2022 UDFA Andrew Rupcich as other options to fill in for the suspended Petit-Frere, per Wyatt. A former Seahawk, Jones has made seven NFL starts over his three-year career. He spent time at tackle in Seattle but did not play last season. After Jones lost the Titans’ left guard competition to Brewer, he spent most of last season on IR. Duncan spent most of his time in College Park at the Terrapins’ left tackle, while Rupcich would be a long shot here, as he joined Jones in not seeing any game action last season.

Tennessee has struggled to fill its right tackle post over the past few seasons. After not picking up Jack Conklin‘s fifth-year option and then letting him walk in 2020, the team has used three different primary starters there over the past three years. Isaiah Wilson became one of this era’s biggest draft busts, playing all of four career snaps, while 2021 second-round pick Dillon Radunz was unable to win the job during the 2021 or ’22 offseasons. (Dennis Kelly and David Quessenberry, respectively, were the Titans’ right tackle starters in 2020 and ’21.) Radunz, who has also spent time at guard with the Titans, would have seemingly been an option to step in for Petit-Frere. But the North Dakota State alum is still rehabbing the ACL tear he suffered in December. Radunz did not participate in the team’s offseason workouts, Wyatt adds.

The Titans released cornerstones Taylor Lewan and Ben Jones this offseason, doing so a year after cutting Rodger Saffold. Tennessee let four-year guard starter Nate Davis walk in free agency in March. Skoronski will be the linchpin of GM Ran Carthon‘s overhaul effort, though the team will not have a chance to see the unit at full strength until Petit-Frere’s October return.

Titans To Sign OL Daniel Brunskill

Daniel Brunskill is off to Tennessee. The Titans are signing the offensive lineman, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). It’s a two-year deal, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic (via Twitter).

[RELATED: Titans To Sign T Andre Dillard]

A former undrafted free agent out of San Diego State, Brunskill transformed into a versatile OL option for the 49ers. The 29-year-old has played right guard, both tackle positions, and center during his professional career, and his 42 games of starting experience makes him more than your standard swing lineman.

Brunskill started 33 games for the 49ers between 2020 and 2021, but he only got two starts in 2022. Still, he managed to appear in all 17 games and played more than 500 offensive snaps. He finished the 2022 campaign as Pro Football Focus’ 23rd-ranked guard among 77 qualifiers, the highest finish of his career.

The Titans have been busy reworking their offensive line during the early part of free agency. Yesterday, the team agreed to terms with former Eagles first-round pick Andre Dillard,

C Jake Brendel Eager To Test Free Agency, Wants To Stay With 49ers

Following Alex Mack‘s retirement, the 49ers hatched an unusual plan at center. Rather than pursuing some notable names on the market, they entrusted the pivot to a veteran severely lacking in experience. Jake Brendel ended up starting all 20 49ers games, providing some stability for a young interior offensive line.

The 49ers will need to give Brendel a raise or plan for another option in 2023. Brendel is now on track for free agency. While the veteran blocker had made three starts in a six-year career coming into 2022, his services should now generate some interest on the market.

Like Mike McGlinchey, Brendel wants to stick around in San Francisco. He has been with the team for three seasons now, signing in February 2020. But the former Dolphins and Ravens backup is preparing for his age-31 season in 2023, highlighting this free agency as perhaps his only shot at a notable NFL payday. Brendel collected a veteran-minimum salary in 2022.

The collective shows that, but also the individual numbers were on par, if not better, than half of the league,” Brendel said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco) when asked if he had proven himself as a starter. “I just feel it’s something that’s going to be advantageous in free agency. I can definitely build off of and I feel there are some promising stuff on film that other teams are going to see how well I can play when I get the opportunity.

This place is special; Kyle Shanahan’s offense is special. [Offensive line] coach [Chris] Foerster is a guy I want to be around in the future, but it’s got to make sense financially and professionally for my family.”

Despite his extended run as a backup or non-active-roster player, Brendel allowed just one sack in his 20-start season. Pro Football Focus rated the former UDFA as the league’s No. 20 overall center, though the advanced metrics site slotted him in the top 10 for pass blocking. But center-needy teams figure to have options come March. Connor McGovern, Garrett Bradbury, Bradley Bozeman and Ethan Pocic are close to hitting the market.

The 49ers may not be able to afford McGlinchey, who after bouncing back from his 2021 quad injury should be able to command a top-tier right tackle contract. The team already has left tackle Trent Williams attached to the most lucrative O-line accord; Brendel should be more affordable. A team set to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo‘s contract and roll out a payroll featuring two rookie quarterback deals will be able to afford a few more veteran payments. Of course, the 49ers have already doled out some over the past two offseasons.

In addition to Williams, the 49ers gave Fred Warner a then-market-setting pact in 2021. They extended Deebo Samuel and Dre Greenlaw in 2022. It will be Nick Bosa‘s turn this year, and $30MM per year may be the reigning Defensive Player of the Year’s baseline. George Kittle remains attached to a $15MM-per-year contract.

Both Brendel and interior swingman Daniel Brunskill are close to free agency. Whichever player is brought back, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, will likely be ticketed to start at center in 2023 (subscription required). This points to an either/or situation, per Barrows, with Brunskill having been a right guard starter from 2020-21. Guards Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford are on rookie contracts.

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Wilson, Rams

The 49ers were without Trent Williams on Monday, and while they won a fairly one-sided game over the Rams, it came with another tackle injury. Colton McKivitz became the latest 49er to sustain an MCL sprain. Like Elijah Mitchell and Azeez Al-Shaair, Kyle Shanahan expects his swing tackle to miss approximately eight weeks. Rookie Jaylon Moore, who replaced Williams against the Broncos while McKivitz was not at 100%, will be the next man up at left tackle.

That said, the 49ers demoted two-year right guard starter Daniel Brunskill because partly because they viewed him as an ideal swing backup. Shanahan said Brunskill will be considered for blindside fill-in duty, Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News notes (via Twitter). Brunskill, who is in his fourth 49ers season, debuted Monday after missing the first three games due to injury. The former UDFA would inject some potentially necessary experience into the mix for a 49ers team still using a mostly unseasoned group of interior O-linemen this season.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • Contract issues and a steady relationship deterioration drove the Seahawks to trade Russell Wilson, but the likely Hall of Fame-bound quarterback’s willingness to run also played a role in the team deciding to move on. The Seahawks believed Wilson’s willingness to use his legs would decrease as he aged, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. Wilson, 33, averaged 5.5 carries and 30 yards per game as a Seahawk and has been one of the best running QBs in NFL history. Wilson’s 4,740 career rushing yards are fourth all time among QBs — behind only Michael Vick, Cam Newton and Randall Cunningham. Wilson rushed for 849 yards in 2014 and topped 500 four more times — most recently in 2020. But in 2021, Seattle’s starter — albeit during a season in which he missed three games due to a finger injury — only rushed for 183 yards. Although the 11th-year veteran has been effective when scrambling as a Bronco, he has been reluctant to do so. Wilson, who has expressed a desire to extend his career into his 40s, has totaled 13 carries for 51 yards this season.
  • Williams does not expect to miss too much time. Given a four- to six-week timetable, the All-Pro left tackle told CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson he is “80% sure” he will beat that four-week mark (Twitter link). Williams, 34, suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 3. Beating the timetable would mean a possible return for the 49ers’ Week 7 game against the Chiefs. San Francisco could certainly use its star blocker in that game, but judging by how the team is playing it with its batch of players rehabbing MCL sprains, it would not surprise if the team exercised caution with its valuable O-line asset.
  • 49ers running backs coach Bobby Turner is back with the team after being away for several months, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. The 73-year-old assistant had been away from the team since undergoing two surgeries early this offseason. Turner has been an integral assistant for both Kyle and Mike Shanahan, being the Broncos’ running backs coach throughout the latter’s 14-year Denver stay. Turner has been with the 49ers since they hired Kyle Shanahan in 2017.
  • The Rams not only lost another interior offensive line starter Monday, when Coleman Shelton suffered a high ankle sprain, but they left San Francisco with starting safety Jordan Fuller out. The young defender is facing a two- to four-week absence to a hamstring strain, Sean McVay said.

49ers Looking Into O-Line Trades

After their offensive line included Laken Tomlinson and Alex Mack last season, the 49ers lost each in the offseason. Their right tackle situation also presents questions, with Mike McGlinchey presently shut down after experiencing an issue in his return from surgery.

This has left San Francisco with an inexperienced front alongside Trent Williams. As a result, the team has made trade inquiries, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes. No deal appears imminent, and the 49ers will obviously monitor the waiver wire closely at this position after teams cut their rosters down to 53 Tuesday.

The team has another experienced piece up front, in two-year right guard starter Daniel Brunskill, but as of now, he is not a projected starter. San Francisco’s interior line is expected to consist of 2021 second-round pick Aaron Banks, veteran UDFA Jake Brendel and fourth-round rookie Spencer Burford, per Branch. Even Banks’ spot may be in question. The 49ers have been rotating Jason Poe, a rookie UDFA out of Division I-FCS Mercer, in place of Banks at points during this week’s practices, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes.

Kyle Shanahan did caution, with more than two weeks remaining until the 49ers’ opener, this group is not yet set. Colton McKivitz, a 2020 fifth-rounder who spent most of last season on the 49ers’ practice squad, is positioned as the team’s backup right tackle.

With Banks having played five offensive snaps as a rookie, Brendel having made three starts in six seasons and Burford a quick study from Conference USA, this represents a staggering shift for a team that advanced to the NFC championship game. Brendel has only logged 250 career offensive snaps.

Brunskill is also battling a hamstring injury. While a swing job may well await Brunskill, the team may need his experience soon. McGlinchey, who joins Brunskill in being on an expiring deal, appears to be week-to-week due to a knee issue. The fifth-year right tackle played eight snaps in the 49ers’ preseason opener, but he has not returned since. McGlinchey received a platelet-rich plasma treatment last week. The player who subbed for McGlinchey after his quadriceps tear last season, Tom Compton, signed with the Broncos in March.

The line Jimmy Garoppolo played behind appeared far more equipped than the one Trey Lance will have come Week 1. The 49ers will not be the only team looking to add O-linemen in the coming days, and their NFC title game cameo will make doing so more difficult. They sit 29th for waiver priority.

49ers OL Daniel Brunskill Suffers Hamstring Injury

49ers offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill suffered a hamstring injury during the team’s preseason victory over the Packers on Friday, as Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Head coach Kyle Shanahan indicated that the ailment will keep Brunskill on the sidelines for “a few weeks.”

It will be interesting to see if this injury has a domino effect on San Francisco’s O-line plans. Brunskill started all 17 regular season games at right guard for the Niners in 2021, but he has taken all of his training camp snaps at center. He and Jake Brendel have been battling to replace the retired Alex Mack at the pivot, and though previous reports indicated that the team does not plan to sign a free agent center, Brunskill’s injury could leave the club with plenty of inexperience up front.

While nine-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams is entrenched as the blindside blocker, 2021 second-rounder Aaron Banks is the presumptive starter at LG, and he appeared in only five offensive snaps in his rookie season (though Shanahan said Banks was ready to be a starter by the end of the year). With fourth-round rookie Spencer Burford penciled in as the starting RG, San Francisco is already planning to have two very green players at the guard positions. Although the majority of his snaps have come at guard, Brunskill at least has significant recent starting experience, and he saw 546 snaps at center in the 2020 season. Brendel, meanwhile, did not play at all in the 2019-20 campaigns, and he saw just six offensive snaps in 2021. He has accumulated a grand total of three career starts, all of which came with the Dolphins in 2018.

So a Banks-Brendel-Burford triumvirate in the middle of the line would perhaps represent a less-than-ideal scenario for second-year passer Trey Lance, and Brunskill’s prognosis could speculatively compel the team to look for outside help. J.C. Tretter and Matt Paradis are the most accomplished options on the free agent market, and while neither player has received confirmed interest in their services this offseason, the lack of suitors for Tretter could be explained by the stances he has taken as NFLPA president.

Presumably, a team with a major hole at center would overlook Tretter’s union-related work in order to fill that void, although the Browns may be back in play for their five-year starter now that Nick Harris is likely done for the season.

NFC West Rumors: Hopkins, Brunskill, Seahawks, Rams

While there was some contention in regards to the six-game suspension handed down to Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the NFLPA considers his case a closed issue, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. There was a sliver of hope that the ban may be reduced from six to four games, and Hopkins still believes there may be, but it seems all but certain that he will be out for all six.

With Hopkins out, Arizona’s receiving room will be led by trade acquisition Marquise Brown, veteran A.J. Green, and second-year player Rondale Moore. The depth gets pretty thin behind those three with Andy Isabella, Antoine Wesley, and Greg Dortch on the roster, among a few others. The Cardinals also shopped Isabella earlier this year.

Here are a few other rumors from around the NFC West, starting with a note out of the Bay Area:

NFC West Notes: Rams, Cards, 49ers, Hawks

Van Jefferson‘s second 2022 surgery will shut him down for weeks. In their No. 3 wide receiver’s stead, the Rams are using the likes of second-round pick Tutu Atwell, veteran backup Ben Skowronek, converted tight end Jacob Harris and fifth-year return specialist Brandon Powell, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Of course, the Rams have also been linked — mostly by their own words — to a second Odell Beckham Jr. contract.

We’ll look at those guys and then we’ll continue to see if we can figure out when Odell will come back at some point as well,” Sean McVay said.

Jefferson’s surgery went well, Rodrigue tweets, adding a Week 1 return should be realistic. Although the Rams signed Beckham when Robert Woods was still healthy, Jefferson’s role was not threatened after the latter’s injury. He finished his sophomore NFL slate with 50 receptions, 802 yards (nearly quadrupling rookie-year total) and six touchdowns. Although Beckham coming back and joining Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson would threaten Jefferson’s playing time, the third-year receiver should have a firm grip on the WR3 job for a bit.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • Activated off the non-football injury list Tuesday, Marquise Brown found himself in off-field trouble several hours later. The recently acquired Cardinals wide receiver was arrested on a criminal speeding charge and booked in the Maricopa County Jail. The arrest occurred at 7:05am Wednesday in north Phoenix, according to Jose Romero of the Arizona Republic. Brown was traveling from his home to the Cards’ facility, per Kliff Kingsbury. Brown, acquired in a draft-weekend deal that saw the Cardinals’ first-round pick change hands, faces a potential suspension under the personal conduct policy purview.
  • D.J. HumphriesCardinals extension is for three years and $51.8MM, Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger tweets. This deal comes with a $17MM signing bonus, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Humphries’ 2022 cap number will also drop from $19.9MM to $12.6MM, creating some additional space for the Cards. Humphries’ extension is worth a bit more than his previous contract (three years, $44.3MM), but it comes in eighth among left tackles for AAV.
  • The 49ers may go with two unseasoned guards this year. They have been using fourth-round rookie Spencer Burford exclusively as their first-string right guard, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes. If the Texas-San Antonio product can stick at this position, it could relocate two-year San Francisco right guard starter Daniel Brunskill to center, where he is battling veteran backup Jake Brendel to take over for Alex Mack. Buford is vying to join Aaron Banks as a guard starter. The 2021 second-round pick logged five offensive snaps as a rookie but looks to have a firm grip on the 49ers’ left guard gig in camp.
  • The SeahawksReuben Foster workout does not look to signal an immediate signing, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. This appears to be a case of the Seahawks kicking the tires on the former first-round pick. Foster has not played in a game since the 2018 season. Although Washington claimed the once-high-profile linebacker during the 2018 season, he never played a down for the team. An ACL tear during Washington’s 2019 offseason program led the Alabama product out of the league. However, the Seahawks are the fifth team to work out Foster since his Washington contract expired following the 2020 season. The Jets, Jaguars, Browns and Dolphins have also brought him in.
  • Former Jets quarterback James Morgan also worked out for the Seahawks, auditioning Thursday. The team, which is holding a long-scrutinized Geno SmithDrew Lock competition, is not planning an immediate Morgan signing, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. A Green Bay native, Morgan, 25, also worked out for the Packers recently.

49ers Not Planning To Sign Free Agent C

As they attempt to replace Laken Tomlinson and Alex Mack, the 49ers are light on experience. For now, that is not fazing the team. San Francisco is not planning to chase a free agent upgrade at center, Kyle Shanahan said during minicamp.

The 49ers turned to Jake Brendel as their first-teamer throughout OTAs and have continued this setup at minicamp. Brendel would be an atypical solution. The former UDFA turns 30 before Week 1 and has made three career starts — all as a fill-in with the 2018 Dolphins. Offensive line coach Chris Foerster was Brendel’s position coach during part of his Miami tenure. The 49ers are Brendel’s fifth team.

Mack retirement rumors lingered for weeks, and Shanahan said the coaching staff had been expecting the 13-year veteran to hang up his cleats since March. Mack’s mid-offseason retirement comes two years after Joe Staley did the same. The 49ers moved aggressively to replace Staley, trading for Trent Williams soon after. J.C. Tretter and Matt Paradis would are available, but free agency is not San Francisco’s Mack replacement plan.

We didn’t want to make it a big thing and go chase stuff, especially when the player that we have in here has done a good job and has shown us in here that he can do it,” Shanahan said, via David Lombardi of The Athletic (subscription required). “… You know all the veterans out there. We’ve had an idea about it for a while, so we’ve been looking at all situations, and right now, we feel like we’re doing the best one for us.”

Shanahan’s praise notwithstanding, Brendel has played six offensive snaps in the past three years. The UCLA alum is not the only option here, but he seems poised to enter training camp as the clear favorite. The 49ers signed Keaton Sutherland, who played in one game with the Bengals last season, and drafted Nick Zakelj in Round 6. Zakelj finished his Fordham career as a tackle, but Lombardi notes the 49ers view him as a possible long-term center option.

The prospect of right guard Daniel Brunskill sliding over is not out of the question, either, with second-year tackle convert Jaylon Moore competing at right guard as well. But Brunskill’s 35 straight guard starts suddenly look important for interior-line continuity purposes. Second-round pick Aaron Banks (five 2021 offensive snaps) is set to take over for Tomlinson, a five-year 49ers starter, at left guard.

No matter who wins the center job, the 49ers will move to their fourth primary snapper in four years. Weston Richburg‘s late-2019 injury — what became a career-ending malady — threw the team’s pivot plans off course.

Jake made our team last year as a backup center,” Shanahan said. “In order to do that, you’ve got to believe they have an ability to start. We had a lot of confidence last year in Jake to make the team. If Mack would’ve ever missed a game or something, we wouldn’t have hesitated and we would’ve gone into that game very confident with him. We also have guys like Brunskill who has done it before, and I think we have some young guys who can do it.”