Mike McGlinchey

NFL Injury Updates: McGlinchey, Browns, Shaheed, Byrd

The Broncos endured a scare yesterday when new offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey was rolled up on in camp. According to Mike Klis of 9NEWS, it sounds like they avoided disaster as their starting right tackle only suffered a sprained knee.

Denver brought on McGlinchey, who was one of this offseason’s most prized free agents, at the open of free agency, shortly after also signing former Ravens guard Ben Powers. It showed how serious the team was about bulking up their offensive line to protect a veteran quarterback in Russell Wilson, who struggled last year in a new system.

Luckily, it sounds like McGlinchey avoided serious injury. This shouldn’t end up anything like the torn quadriceps injury that cut his 2021 season short. Klis claims that McGlinchey should only miss two to three weeks. He’ll have to take it easy for the entire preseason, but he should be ready to make his Broncos debut in the team’s season opener against the Raiders.

In the team’s first released depth chart of the season, veteran swing tackle Cameron Fleming is listed as McGlinchey’s primary backup. He should get a good run over the next few weeks in case McGlinchey’s recovery leaks into the regular season.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the league:

  • The Browns also experienced a couple of minor scares when two second-year defensive ends went down with “significant knee injuries,” according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. Both Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas suffered injuries this week that had head coach Kevin Stefanski thinking they would each “miss an extended period of time.” Luckily, ESPN’s Adam Schefter provided an update today that, after undergoing arthroscopic surgery, both players are expected to return “early in the season.” Although Wright started five games last year, both players are considered rotational backups. The position’s depth takes a hit, but the stars are still there.
  • Cleveland is down another second-year player in running back Jerome Ford, who is reportedly “week-to-week” with a hip injury, according to Browns staff writer Anthony Polsal. Although Ford’s main contribution as a rookie came returning kickoffs, he’s been expected to take the next step at running back this year with the departure of Kareem Hunt. He had been “receiving a considerable amount of reps” in camp before limping off the practice field on Monday. The team will turn to Demetric Felton, John Kelly, and undrafted rookie Hassan Hall in Ford’s absence, but they believe there’s a chance Ford could be back by Week 1.
  • Saints second-year wide receiver Rashid Shaheed missed another practice today, according to NOF Network. The surprise rookie contributor from last year has been missing a bit of time through camp with a groin injury. The report claims that, while Shaheed is expected to miss a few weeks, he should be ready to go for the team’s regular season opener.
  • The Panthers depth at wide receiver took a hit yesterday as veteran Damiere Byrd suffered “a significant hamstring injury,” according to Joseph Person of The Athletic. New head coach Frank Reich says that Byrd could need surgery. If so, it’s expected that the wideout would “miss at least eight weeks.” The new-look top-end remains the same with free agent additions Adam Thielen and DJ Chark and second-round rookie Jonathan Mingo. Behind them, Carolina still sports a strong backup group including Terrace Marshall, Laviska Shenault, Shi Smith, and others.

49ers To Pick Up Brandon Aiyuk’s Fifth-Year Option; Trade Interest Emerging For WR

Add Brandon Aiyuk to the list of wide receivers generating trade interest this offseason. The 49ers have fielded inquiries from multiple teams on the former first-round pick, but John Lynch plans to keep him in San Francisco.

The 49ers are also planning to pick up Aiyuk’s fifth-year option for 2024, Lynch said. That figure, per the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch, is set to come in at $14.12MM. Aiyuk is set to count just $3.9MM against the 49ers’ 2023 cap, which certainly helps drive some trade interest.

Brandon’s been excellent for us. I’d be shocked if we didn’t,” Lynch said Monday at the league meetings regarding the fifth-year option decision. “We still have some time … we’re still discussing, but it probably makes sense to do that for Brandon. He’s a really good player. He’s a guy we’re very fortunate to have and he’s just coming into his own, too. He’s only going to get better. So we’re excited about watching Brandon move forward with us.”

As Lynch confirmed what had long been assumed — Trent Williams‘ top-market salary impeded the team from paying Mike McGlinchey — teams will naturally wonder if the 49ers will be open to dealing Aiyuk months after they extended Deebo Samuel, who signed a three-year, $71.6MM deal last August. The 49ers also have a record-setting Nick Bosa extension in sight this offseason.

Lynch said “a lot of people” have asked about Aiyuk at the various league gatherings, but the 49ers plan to have he and Samuel back. The 49ers join the Bengals (Tee Higgins), Chargers (Keenan Allen) and Broncos (Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton) to shoot down trade interest in wide receivers. These stances do not guarantee no trade will commence, but it will certainly take a big offer to convince the teams to change their minds.

Chosen in the space between Jeudy and Higgins’ slots in 2020 (No. 25 overall), Aiyuk has continued to progress. Despite his name not coming up as often as Jeudy’s in trade talks, Aiyuk has beaten the Denver wideout in eclipsing the 1,000-yard barrier. The Arizona State product, who is going into his age-25 season, tallied a career-high 1,015 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last year.

McGlinchey, who signed a five-year deal worth $87.5MM with the Broncos this month, said in an ESPN.com piece Kyle Shanahan informed him the team was considering a trade that would have shipped him out last year. At the time, McGlinchey was coming off a season-ending quad injury. That indication, one that stemmed from the price the 49ers expected him to fetch on the open market, came ahead of McGlinchey’s fifth-year option season. Aiyuk is not at that point on his timeline, but a trade will be something to monitor — with Samuel signed through 2025 — regarding Aiyuk. Though, the 49ers being off Jimmy Garoppolo‘s contract may affect their interest in having both Samuel and Aiyuk on veteran deals.

Bears Pursued Mike McGlinchey; Latest On Cody Whitehair, Teven Jenkins

Even after acquiring D.J. Moore, the Bears entered free agency with the NFL’s most cap space. But they stood down when it came to the top offensive linemen available.

Jawaan Taylor, Mike McGlinchey and Orlando Brown Jr. each signed for at least $16MM per year last week. The Bears could have obviously competed with the Chiefs, Broncos and Bengals for these blockers, but Ryan Poles‘ club did not. The team did try to land McGlinchey, however, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, with The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain confirming it was in on the new Broncos right tackle (subscription required).

As expected, McGlinchey landed a deal on Day 1 of the legal tampering period. The Broncos convinced the five-year 49ers right tackle to sign a five-year deal worth $87.5MM deal (fourth among right tackles), but McGlinchey did well to essentially secure three guaranteed years. His 2025 salary becomes fully guaranteed shortly after the 2024 league year begins, virtually locking in $52.5MM at signing. The Bears were not willing to go there, and the Broncos came from a place of desperation considering their track record at right tackle. Barring injury, McGlinchey will be Denver’s 11th Week 1 right tackle starter in 11 seasons.

Chicago pivoted from Larry Borom to Riley Reiff last season, but Reiff has since joined the Patriots on a one-year, $5MM deal. Reiff’s Pats pact includes $4.15MM guaranteed, per AtoZSports.com’s Doug Kyed (on Twitter). The deal includes up to $4MM in play-time incentives, Kyed adds. Borom would again be projected to start at right tackle, but the Bears will be connected to right-side options in the first round, The Athletic’s Adam Jahns adds.

This year’s draft includes top-10 tackle options Peter Skoronski, from nearby Northwestern, and Paris Johnson (Ohio State). The Bears have not drafted a tackle in Round 1 since Gabe Carimi in 2011, but Poles was with the Chiefs when they used the No. 1 overall pick on Eric Fisher two years later. With right tackle looking like the weak spot for Chicago up front, the team could use its No. 9 overall pick on one or trade down (again) to nab one of the other three first-round tackle prospects (Georgia’s Broderick Jones, Tennessee’s Darnell Wright, Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison). Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock sends Johnson to Chicago.

On the interior, the Bears may be prepared to move Cody Whitehair to solve the guard logjam they created by Nate Davis‘ three-year, $30MM deal. Poles said Whitehair will be an option to move back to center, citing the seven-year veteran’s nearly 4,000 snaps at the position. Whitehair played center primarily to start his career, working as Chicago’s snapper over his first three seasons before moving to guard in 2019 to accommodate a James Daniels position switch.

Whitehair shifting to center would allow the Bears to have he, Davis and Teven Jenkins as interior starters. While Davis played right guard with the Titans, the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs predicts Jenkins will stay at that position after showing considerable promise in 2022. Pro Football Focus rated Jenkins, whom the Bears tried at both tackle spots and dangled in trades last year, as the league’s No. 3 overall guard.

Broncos Sign T Mike McGlinchey

MARCH 16: One of the top free agents to hit the market, McGlinchey did well to secure an agreement that features a virtual three-year guarantee. In addition to the veteran right tackle’s 2023 and ’24 base salaries being fully guaranteed, Albert Breer of SI.com notes his 2025 salary ($17.5MM) will become locked in on if he is still on Denver’s roster in March 2024. This is not an uncommon structure, but it essentially will bring McGlinchey’s full guarantee number up to $52.5MM.

While practical guarantees are present in other linemen’s contracts, no current right tackle deal included more than $43MM guaranteed at signing. Payton signed off on that deal (Ramczyk’s) as well. The Broncos have spent a decade trying to fill this position; they are paying up to do so.

MARCH 13: The Broncos are making an all-out effort to upgrade their offensive line Monday. Shortly after agreeing to terms with Ben Powers, they are signing another big fish. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey is joining the team, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com tweets.

A five-year 49ers starter, McGlinchey hit the legal tampering period as one of the market’s top available players. The Broncos’ right tackle spot has become one of the league’s fastest-moving carousel positions. Denver has used a different right tackle starter in Week 1 in each of the past 10 seasons. While that streak will hit 11, the team is spending big bucks to ensure McGlinchey stops it for a while.

49ers GM John Lynch said he expected McGlinchey to have a robust market that would price himself out of San Francisco. With Trent Williams attached to the NFL’s top offensive line contract, McGlinchey will collect his cash elsewhere. He will join Garett Bolles in Denver, which will soon have top-10 contracts devoted to left tackle and right tackle. As of midday Monday, the Broncos are the only team that can say that.

PFR ranked McGlinchey as the market’s top right tackle, though this was a strong market at the position. The Broncos are choosing McGlinchey over the likes of Jawaan Taylor and Kaleb McGary, but the team’s dire issues at right tackle will prompt a big payment. It is a five-year, $87.5MM deal for McGlinchey, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. At $17.5MM per year, McGlinchey becomes the NFL’s fourth-highest-paid right tackle. Sean Payton authorized the top right tackle contract — Ryan Ramczyk‘s — back in 2021. Payton is continuing his O-line-centric focus in Denver.

In New Orleans, Payton continually devoted high picks to his offensive line. Extensions followed. The Broncos will now have two hired guns up front to join Bolles and Quinn Meinerz. While Denver’s center position is uncertain, it will be difficult for the team — which has some needs that are not on the O-line — to devote too much capital here. Lloyd Cushenberry is entering a contract year and is coming off an injury-abbreviated season.

McGlinchey, 28, has been one of the NFL’s top run-blocking tackles in recent years. The former top-10 pick who came to San Francisco after being Notre Dame’s left tackle, McGlinchey rated fifth in ESPN’s run block win rate last season. He started every game for the 49ers in 2022, bouncing back from a quad injury that ended his 2021 season early. McGlinchey is going into his age-28 season. The Broncos are betting on him to remain an upper-crust right tackle into his 30s. They have tried repeatedly to staff this position but have failed, with the biggest whiff coming via the four-year deal they gave Ja’Wuan James back in 2019.

The 49ers recently re-signed Colton McKivitz, giving them a much cheaper option to potentially succeed McGlinchey opposite Williams. Jaylon Moore also serves as an option for San Francisco, which has now lost five-year starting O-linemen — McGlinchey and guard Laken Tomlinson — in back-to-back offseasons.

2023 Top 50 NFL Free Agents

Super Bowl LVII provided the latest example of the value free agency can bring. The Chiefs revamped their receiving corps on last year’s market, while the Eagles acquired three defensive starters — including sack leader Haason Reddick. The Jaguars also used a March 2022 splurge to ignite their surprising surge to the divisional round.

Beginning with the legal tampering period, which starts at 3pm CT on Monday, and continuing with the official start to free agency (3pm Wednesday), the next several days represent a highlight on the NFL calendar. Which teams will change their 2023 outlooks for the better next week?

While the 2023 free agent class has absorbed its share of body blows and indeed lacks depth at certain spots, a few positions will bring waves of starter-level talent. Right tackle will invite some big-money decisions, and the safety and off-ball linebacker positions feature considerable depth. A few ascending talents and hidden gems appear in this class as well.

This list ranks free agents by earning potential. In terms of accomplishments, Bobby Wagner, Fletcher Cox and Lavonte David would lap most of the players included here. With each defender going into his age-33 season, however, the standouts’ ability to command big contracts is certainly not what it once was.

In terms of possible destinations, not every team is represented equally. Some teams will bring more needs and cap space into this year’s marketplace than others. With some help from Adam La Rose, here is this year’s PFR top 50 free agents list, along with potential landing spots for each player.

1. Orlando Brown Jr., T. Age in Week 1: 27

As the 49ers did two years ago with Trent Williams, the Chiefs will let Brown hit the market. This could end up benefiting the veteran tackle, who was offered a deal with an average annual value north of Williams’ tackle-record $23MM per year before last July’s franchise tag deadline. Citing insufficient guarantees, Brown turned it down. Kansas City’s offer did contain a bloated final year to bump up the AAV to $23.1MM, but will Brown – a quality left tackle but not a top-shelf option at the position – do as well this year? He will soon find out.

Brown has now made four Pro Bowls and carries positional versatility that would intrigue were he open to a return to right tackle, which by all accounts he is not. The 363-pound blocker can struggle against speed-rusher types, but he is set to be the rare accomplished left tackle in his prime to hit the market. The Chiefs sent a package including a first-round pick to the Ravens for Brown, whose bet on himself led to a $16.6MM tag and an open market. The bidding will run high, though it might not reach the places the Williams pursuit did in 2021.

The Chiefs’ exclusive negotiating rights with Brown end March 13; they have had nearly two years to complete a deal. The market will determine if the league views the sixth-year blocker as an elite-level left tackle or merely a good one. Then again, bidding wars drive up the prices for O-linemen on the market. O-line salary records have fallen four times (Williams, Corey Linsley, Joe Thuney, Brandon Scherff) in free agency since 2021. This foray could give Brown the guaranteed money he seeks, and it puts the Chiefs at risk of seeing their two-year left tackle depart. The Ravens also passed on this payment back in 2021, in part because they already had Ronnie Stanley on the payroll.

The defending champions have Brown and right tackle Andrew Wylie eligible for free agency; some of their leftover funds from the Tyreek Hill trade went to Brown’s tag. Although some among the Chiefs were frustrated Brown passed on last year’s offer, the team will be hurting at a premium position if he walks. Given the importance the blindside position carries, fewer teams are in need compared to right tackle. The Titans losing Taylor Lewan and continuing to clear cap space could point to a run at Brown, though the team has a few needs up front. The Jets likely have needs at both tackle spots. Would the Bears relocate Braxton Jones to the right side? Ryan Poles was with the Chiefs when they traded for Brown, and the Bears could outmuscle anyone for cap space.

Best fits: Titans, Chiefs, Commanders

2. Mike McGlinchey, T. Age in Week 1: 28

Teams in need of right tackles will participate in one of the more interesting markets in recent memory. Above-average-to-good offensive linemen do well in free agency annually, and this year will send three experienced right tackles in their prime to the market. A five-year starter in San Francisco and former top-10 pick, McGlinchey has a good case as the best of this lot. The five-year vet’s run-blocking craft eclipses his pass-protection chops exiting Year 5, but he will walk into a competitive market. The former Notre Dame left tackle should have a lucrative deal in place during next week’s legal tampering period.

Although mutual interest existed regarding a second 49ers-McGlinchey agreement, John Lynch acknowledged the only viable path for McGlinchey to stay in San Francisco would be his market underwhelming. That seems unlikely, so right tackle-seeking teams – and there are a handful – will jockey for the sixth-year veteran. McGlinchey turned 28 in January, making this his obvious window to cash in. He rated fifth in ESPN’s run block win rate stat last season, bouncing back from the quadriceps injury that ended his 2021 season.

There is no shortage of Kyle Shanahan– or Sean McVay-influenced schemes around the league. The Bears employ Luke Getsy as their play-caller; Getsy worked for Shanahan/McVay tree branch Matt LaFleur, and the Bears’ cap space dwarfs every other team’s. After fielding a shaky O-line (on a team full of substandard position groups), Chicago needs a better idea of Justin Fields’ trajectory. Outbidding the field for the top right tackle available is a good start. The Patriots want a right tackle – on a line without a big contract presently – and the Raiders might have a say here as well. In need at multiple O-line spots, Las Vegas will have cash as well if it passes on a big QB investment.

Best fits: Bears, Patriots, Raiders

3. Jawann Taylor, T. Age in Week 1: 26

As expected, the Jaguars took Evan Engram off the market via the franchise tag. The tight end tag being $7MM cheaper than the $18.2MM offensive lineman tag always pointed Taylor toward free agency, and after never missing a start in four Duval County seasons, Taylor will be tough for the Jags to retain. They already drafted Walker Little in the 2021 second round, and no team that is currently paying a left tackle top-10 money (Cam Robinson is seventh) has a top-10 right tackle contract on the books. Taylor is expected to land at least a top-10 right tackle deal, with a $17MM-AAV figure being floated. That would place the former Florida Gator in the top five at the position, depending on how McGlinchey fares next week.

Taylor resembles the genre of player that usually populates the top of a position’s free agency market: a dependable performer who checks in below the top tier at his job. Taylor enjoyed his strongest year in his platform campaign. The former second-round pick dropped his hold count from 11 in 2021 to two in 2022. While PFF charged Taylor with five sacks allowed, Football Outsiders measured his blown-block rate at a career-low 1.3%. Offering a disparate skillset compared to McGlinchey, Taylor has fared better as a pass protector than in the run game. PFF slotted him as a top-10 pass protector among right tackles but viewed him as a dismal run-blocker.

The Jags have presumably made Taylor an offer, but other teams will probably top it. The Dolphins gave Terron Armstead a five-year, $75MM deal in 2022 but have needed a right tackle ever since Ja’Wuan James’ 2019 exit. They were forced to start in-season pickup Brandon Shell for much of the year and have cleared more than $45MM in cap space over the past two days. The team just picked up Tua Tagovailoa‘s fifth-year option, and the league’s lone southpaw starting QB needs better blindside protection after a season in which he suffered at least two concussions. Overspending on O-linemen is not the Patriots’ M.O., but they have a need at right tackle and do not have big dollars devoted to quarterback or any position up front. New England is on the hunt for a right tackle upgrade, and the team’s 2021 free agency showed it would spend when it deemed expenditures necessary.

Best fits: Dolphins, Patriots, Jaguars

4. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB. Age in Week 1: 31

The quarterback market cleared up this week, seeing Geno Smith and Daniel Jones extended and Derek Carr’s lengthy street free agency stretch end with $70MM in practical guarantees. Garoppolo’s injury history will affect his value, but teams kind of make it a priority to staff this position. The former Super Bowl starter is in his prime and on the market for the first time. How high this market goes will depend on what the Raiders want and what Aaron Rodgers decides.

The 49ers’ 12-game win streak that included Brock Purdy’s stunning displays began with Garoppolo at the controls. Guiding San Francisco to four straight wins, Garoppolo was at or close to his best when he suffered a broken foot in Week 13. He sported a 7-0 TD-INT ratio during that win streak and closed the season 16th in QBR. He would have walked into a better market had the injury not occurred; the setback came after a string of health issues. He tore an ACL in 2018, missed 10 games in 2020 after an ankle sprain and was significantly limited by the end of the 2021 slate due to a three-injury season. Garoppolo’s March 2022 shoulder surgery hijacked his trade market.

Ideally for Garoppolo, Rodgers returns to Green Bay or retires. While that is looking unlikelier by the day, it would put the Jets in a desperate position following Carr’s decision. The Raiders represent the other wild card. Garoppolo would slide into Josh McDaniels’ system seamlessly, given the parties’ three-plus years together in New England. The Raiders have operated a bit more stealthily compared to the Jets; they have been connected to Rodgers, Garoppolo and rolling with a rookie. Plan C here would be a tough sell given the presences of 30-year-old skill-position players Davante Adams and Darren Waller, but Las Vegas’ plans cloud Garoppolo’s market. If the Raiders pass and Rodgers chooses the Jets, Garoppolo’s earning power could drop.

McDaniels not fancying a Garoppolo reunion opens the door for the Texans, who hired ex-49ers pass-game coordinator Bobby Slowik as OC, and others. Houston’s situation may not appeal to Garoppolo, but Slowik and Nick Caserio being in Houston make this connection too clear to ignore. The Buccaneers and Commanders are in win-now positions but are giving indications they do not want to spend much at QB. The Commanders were deep in talks for the then-49ers QB last year, however. Garoppolo will test those squads, along with the Falcons, who are entering Year 3 of the Terry FontenotArthur Smith regime. The Panthers’ acquisition of the No. 1 pick likely takes them out of the running, and Carolina not being in the mix could also affect how high the Garoppolo price goes.

Bottom line, there should be enough teams interested in staffing their 2023 QB1 spots that the best free agent option should do OK no matter what happens with Rodgers.

Best fits: Raiders, Texans, Commanders

5. Jamel Dean, CB. Age in Week 1: 26

The Buccaneers retained Carlton Davis last year, but their dire cap situation should force a Dean departure. Dean’s age/performance combination should make him this year’s top cornerback available. With corner a position of need for many teams, the former third-round pick stands to do very well. Dean has only been a full-time starter in one season, however, seeing his defensive snap share jump from 67% in 2021 to 90% last season.

Excelling in press coverage, Dean played a major role for the 2020 Super Bowl champion Bucs iteration and overtook fellow free agent Sean Murphy-Bunting last year. Dean did perform better in 2021 compared to 2022, allowing no touchdowns and limiting QBs to a collective 50.0 passer rating; those numbers shot up to four and 86.0 last season. Still, PFF rated Dean as last year’s 10th-best corner. J.C. Jackson did not break into the top five among corners upon hitting the market last year; Dean should not be expected to do so, either. But many teams will be interested.

The Patriots have paid up for a corner previously, in Stephon Gilmore (2017), but Jonathan Jones – forced to primarily play a boundary role in 2022 – wants to re-sign and will be far cheaper than Dean. The Falcons need help opposite AJ Terrell and trail only the Bears in cap space. Although a Terrell payment is coming, it can be tabled to 2024 due to the fifth-year option. The Dolphins are clearing cap space and now have a corner need, with Byron Jones no longer with the team after his missed season.

Best fits: Dolphins, Falcons, Patriots

6. Jessie Bates, S. Age in Week 1: 26

Bates stands to be one of this free agency crop’s safest bets, combining extensive experience – the final two years as a pillar for a championship threat – with a host of prime years remaining. Beginning his career at 21, the Wake Forest product has started 79 games and anchored the Bengals’ secondary for most of his tenure. The Bengals did not tag Bates for a second time, passing on a $15.5MM price. With the team planning to let Bates test the market, it looks like the sixth-year defender will leave Cincinnati.

The Bengals and Bates went through two offseasons of negotiations, ending in the 2022 tag. The Bengals have some big payments to make at higher-profile positions. Safety does not qualify as such, but Bates has been a cornerstone in Lou Anarumo’s defense and will be handsomely rewarded. Bates finished as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 overall safety in 2020 and, after a shakier 2021 in which he admitted his contract situation affected his play, Bates came through with impact plays in the postseason. He graded as a top-25 safety, via PFF, in 2022.

Safety is one of this year’s deeper positions in free agency. Of the top 10 safety contracts, however, only one went to a free agent (Marcus Williams in 2022). Bates should be expected to join the Ravens defender, who signed for $14MM per year. It will be interesting if he can climb into the top five at the position; Justin Simmons’ $15.25MM-AAV accord sits fifth. Bates should be expected to approach or eclipse that, though moving to the Derwin JamesMinkah Fitzpatrick tier will be more difficult. Still, after the Bengals offered Bates less than $17MM guaranteed last summer, he should depart for more guaranteed money.

The Browns are interested in Bates, who will cost more than John Johnson cost Cleveland two years ago (three years, $33.75MM). Clear of the record-setting Matt Ryan dead-money hit, the Falcons have cash to spend and a Terry FontenotArthur Smith regime entering Year 3. The Falcons need to make progress, and they do not have much in the way of talent or costs at safety. The team has not featured much here since the Keanu NealRicardo Allen tandem splintered. Bates would be a way to remedy that.

Team fits: Falcons, Browns, Raiders

Read more

OL Rumors: Taylor, McGlinchey, Pats, Powers

Right tackle will be one of this year’s top positional markets to monitor. One of the best players set to hit the market, Jawaan Taylor, is expected to do very well. The Jaguars blocker may move into position to command a deal worth at least $17MM on average, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. The Jaguars used their franchise tag on Evan Engram, with that cost being $7MM cheaper than the O-line tag, but they are attempting to bring back Taylor. The former second-rounder has never missed a start as a pro and has earned plus grades for his pass protection. Although Pro Football Focus viewed Taylor as one of the league’s worst run-blockers last season, the advanced metrics site rates him as the eighth-best pass-protecting right tackle over the past two years.

The Jags already have Cam Robinson tied to a top-10 deal at left tackle, which will make keeping Taylor difficult. A deal at $17MM AAV would move Taylor into the top five at the position. Here is the latest from the O-line ranks:

  • Another of the top right-siders set to be hit the market, Mike McGlinchey is not expected to return to the 49ers. The Bears would be in position to outmuscle other suitors for the five-year starter’s services, holding a near-$30MM lead in cap space (at $94.7MM). McGlinchey should be expected to join Taylor on a deal north of $17MM per year, per Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required). Kaleb McGary could profile as a slightly cheaper alternative, per Jahns, who notes Bears offensive line coach Chris Morgan was the Falcons’ O-line coach when they drafted the Michigan product in the 2019 first round. The Bears have gone through a few options at right tackle since releasing Bobby Massie in 2021. This represents a good year for the team to address the position.
  • Excepting their 2017 Stephon Gilmore payment and the 2021 spending frenzy, the Patriots are not known for deep dives into free agency pools. But they also look set to investigate the right tackle market. New England is seeking an upgrade here, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes, pointing out that the team is content on the interior (with center David Andrews and guards Michael Onwenu and Cole Strange). Trent Brown is still under contract on the left side. Beyond the top three RTs, Trey Pipkins, Kelvin Beachum and Andrew Wylie are ticketed for free agency. Isaiah Wynn is not expected back in New England, which is not exactly a surprise given his dismal contract year. The Pats hold more than $32MM in cap space, giving them some capital to use at this need area.
  • Currently carrying a $32.4MM Lamar Jackson franchise tag on their cap sheet, the Ravens should not be expected to retain their top free agent (now that Jackson is tagged). Ben Powers‘ quality contract year should lead to his Baltimore departure, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes. Powers needed to win a left guard competition in training camp. Upon doing so, the former fourth-round pick proceeded to rank in the top 10 in run and pass block win rates, per ESPN. Powers, 26, will be one of the best guards available next week. The Ravens’ Jackson tag has them $9MM over the cap as of Wednesday afternoon.
  • USC tackle prospect Andrew Vorhees suffered a torn ACL while doing drills at the Combine, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. While Vorhees still managed to perform 38 reps in the bench press after the injury, this setback will undoubtedly hurt the top-100 prospect’s draft stock.

49ers Expecting RT Mike McGlinchey To Depart In Free Agency

Mike McGlinchey has said he wants to stay in San Francisco but has also acknowledged, as should be expected, money will play a major role in determining if he will. 49ers GM John Lynch expects the veteran right tackle to price himself out of the team’s range.

Lynch said at the Combine he expects a robust McGlinchey market, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. The 49ers already have the league’s highest-paid offensive lineman, left tackle Trent Williams, which has long made it unlikely they would pay up for McGlinchey. That said, Lynch would be prepared to push to retain him if his market did not take off as expected.

Could he miss his market? Sure,” Lynch said. “Then would we be interested? Of course we would. But I don’t see that happening. I see him being a coveted player. When you have Trent and the way our team is comprised, the reality is it’s just a tough deal for us.

This free agency class stands to help some teams in need at right tackle. McGlinchey joins Kaleb McGary and Jawaan Taylor as veteran right tackle starters available. Taylor has also said he wants to stay with the team that drafted him — the Jaguars — but each should be in position to command lucrative contracts. McGlinchey turned 28 last month; the Notre Dame product will need to use this free agency to capitalize on his rookie-contract performance level.

McGlinchey has started all 69 games he has played. This past season, he bounced back from a quadriceps injury that ended his 2021 campaign. He made $10.88MM on the fifth-year option in 2022; his free agency contract should check in considerably higher in terms of average annual value. The salary cap jumped by more than $16MM this year, and five right tackles earn at least $17MM on average. A bidding war could push McGlinchey into that stratum. Lynch classified McGlinchey as being just behind the elite players at the position.

Williams earns $23MM per year. No team that employs a left tackle in the top 10 in AAV at that position is currently paying a right tackle a top-10 contract at that spot. The Jaguars and Falcons, with Cam Robinson and Jake Matthews respectively stationed at left tackle, face similar challenges. Depending on their free agency activity, the 49ers will be expected to collect a prime compensatory pick for losing McGlinchey, who stands to join Laken Tomlinson as O-linemen to cash in after successful runs in San Francisco. The Jets gave Tomlinson a three-year, $40MM deal in March 2022.

Mutual Interest Between 49ers, RT Mike McGlinchey For New Deal

The 49ers remained surprisingly successful throughout the season in spite of never-ending injury problems at the quarterback position. The team has several key questions to answer as free agency approaches, however, including an experienced mainstay on their offensive line.

[RELATED: Trent Williams Considering Retirement?]

Right tackle Mike McGlinchey is scheduled to hit the open market for the first time in his career in March. The ninth overall pick in 2018, McGlinchey has been a full-time starter since his arrival. 2022 saw him play over 1,000 snaps for the third time in his five-year tenure with San Francisco, and deliver a performance roughly on par with his previous campaigns; the Notre Dame alum earned a PFF grade of 70.3, generally excelling in run blocking while allowing six sacks.

McGlinchey earned $10.88MM this past season while playing on the fifth-year option, but he is in line for a notable raise on a multi-year deal. Given his age (28), position and consistency, he could garner a sizeable market if he heads elsewhere. If he had his way, however, he would remain in the Bay Area.

“It’s hard to ever want to leave this place,” McGlinchey said of his impending free agency decision, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports“I’ve seen people do it and be kind of heartbroken about it later on. You got to do a lot of thinking and see how the chips fall.”

San Francisco, meanwhile, “would prefer” to keep him in the fold for the foreseeable future, writes ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. The 49ers saw guard Laken Tomlinson head to the Jets in free agency last offseason, and will no doubt look to keep as much of their offensive core intact as possible. With star defensive end Nick Bosa due for a new contract – one which could easily make him the league’s highest-paid defender – as well, though, finances will be a key sticking point in negotiations for all other pending FAs.

That point is not lost on McGlinchey, who added that money “will certainly have a lot to do with” his ultimate decision to stay or leave. San Francisco currently sits in the middle of the pack with respect to cap space, though plenty remains to be sorted out in the weeks to come. One decision the team will need to make will be a price point for McGlinchey, as they prepare to navigate what will be an interesting offseason.

Trade Deadline Notes: Burns, R. Smith, 49ers

The trade deadline passed on Tuesday, but reports of near-deals and trade talks featuring high-profile players continue to trickle in. Though the NFL trade deadline may never produce the anticipation that the MLB deadline seems to generate, NFL front offices are increasingly amenable to making deals, and this year’s deadline day brought with it 10 trades and 12 players changing teams, both league records. As Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, that type of activity is wildly popular among fans and therefore good for business, and Yates’ ESPN colleague, Adam Schefter, says multiple clubs have reached out to the league office this week to discuss the possibility of moving future deadlines to later dates.

In 2012, the league pushed the deadline back two weeks, from the Tuesday after Week 6 to the Tuesday after Week 8. Another move could see the deadline moved to sometime after Week 10 or Week 12, which would presumably produce even more trades. The idea is that, the later the deadline, the more clarity teams will have with respect to their status as a playoff contender, which will lead to more trade activity. Schefter hears that the issue will be raised at the general manager committee meetings later this month.

Now for more fallout and other notes from this year’s deadline extravaganza:

  • Teams were perhaps most interested in improving their receiving talent at the deadline, as players like Chase ClaypoolCalvin RidleyKadarius Toney, and T.J. Hockenson changed hands on or before deadline day, and big names like Brandin Cooks, Jerry Jeudy, DeAndre Hopkins, and D.J. Moore generated conversations as well. According to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, the aggression on that front was inspired at least in part by a weak 2023 class of free agent receivers headlined by the likes of Jakobi Meyers, Deonte Harty, Nelson Agholor, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. On a related note, Joel Corry of CBS Sports believes that, if the Saints choose to move on from Michael Thomas this offseason, they may find a number of suitors, despite Thomas’ recent injury woes (Twitter link).
  • It was indeed the Rams who were willing to trade two first-round picks to the Panthers in exchange for DE Brian Burns, as Jones writes in a separate piece. Confirming prior reports, Jones says Los Angeles offered its 2024 and 2025 first-round selections — the team is without a 2023 first-round pick to due to last year’s Matthew Stafford trade — and he adds that the club also included a 2023 second-round choice in its final proposal. Carolina gave serious consideration to the offer, but it ultimately elected to hold onto Burns, which will increase the player’s leverage in offseason extension talks. Per Jones, Burns is likely to land a deal that far exceeds the $110MM pact that the Dolphins recently authorized for their own deadline acquisition, Bradley Chubb.
  • Speaking of the Panthers, we learned earlier today that the club also turned down a first-round pick for Moore. The Panthers’ reticence to trade its young talent (aside from Christian McCaffrey, of course) was on full display at the deadline, and while the decisions to retain Moore and Burns were certainly defensible, every executive with whom Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post spoke was shocked that the club did not pull the trigger on Burns. “I can’t believe they turned [the Rams’ offer] down. Now they almost have to pay him whatever he wants because everyone knows they turned down two [first-round picks] for him,” one GM said. Apparently, cornerback Donte Jackson also drew some trade interest, though another GM said the Panthers were asking too much for him as well.
  • The 49ersacquisition of McCaffrey will necessitate some “bean-counting creativity” from GM John Lynch this offseason, as Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle opines. The team’s impending cap crunch, intensified by McCaffrey’s $12MM cap hit for 2023, will make it more difficult for the club to retain QB Jimmy Garoppolo — though that may not have been in the cards anyway — and RT Mike McGlinchey.
  • Bears head coach Matt Eberflus acknowledged that one of the reasons his team traded linebacker Roquan Smith is because of Smith’s lack of ball production relative to his peers, particularly the peers who have contracts that Smith wants to top, as Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Compared to fellow 2018 draftee and three-time First Team All-Pro Shaquille Leonard, for instance, Smith has five fewer interceptions (seven), 16 fewer forced fumbles (one), and six fewer fumble recoveries (one) over the course of his career.
  • The Lionstrade of Hockenson will naturally create more playing time for second-year pro Brock Wright — who is expected to step into the starting TE role — and fifth-round rookie James Mitchell, as Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website notes. Mitchell, who is still strengthening and rehabbing the torn ACL he suffered as a collegian at Virginia Tech in 2021, has played just 21 offensive snaps this season but offers big-play upside at the tight end position.

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.