Unbelievable: 49ers set to sign 4 undisputable guard that will boost…. see more 

Unbelievable: 49ers set to sign 3 undisputable guard that will boost…. see more 

It would be difficult for the San Francisco 49ers to go into the 2024 regular season with the same starting guard as they did this past season. For two seasons, Spencer Burford was a rotational piece with another veteran. The Niners need stability at the position. Under Kyle Shanahan, the right guard has been the least prioritized position.

They’ve been able to “get by” with a fourth-rounder for two seasons, and this is after shuffling through undrafted free agents and journeymen. That has to change. And I believe it will after a handful of mistakes that cost the 49ers a Super Bowl.

It’s tough to blame the 29th pick of the fourth round. He was never supposed to be in this position. Per Sports Info Solutions, Burford had the 9th-highest blown block percentage among all right guards. He was much better against the run, but his inexperience in pass protection reared its ugly head at the worst possible moments.

It’s why the Niners turned to Jon Feliciano, who had been in the NFL since 2015. Feliciano was better, but he’s an unrestricted free agent and far from the “future” at the position.

There’s a free agent at right guard who could solve the 49ers problem at right guard. He played in an offense similar to San Francisco’s. ESPN’s Matt Bowen identified Miami Dolphins right guard Robert Guard, who they have ranked as the 14th best free agent, as the 49ers being his best fit:

14. Robert Hunt, G

Best team fit: San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers can upgrade at the right guard position with Hunt, who in Miami showed he has the ability to win in pass protection and the skill set to block in multiple run schemes. That’s a fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense, which needs help on the offensive line; San Francisco was 20th in pass block win rate last season (55.6%).

Hunt was a second-round pick in 2020, so the pedigree is there. He’ll turn 28 by the time the season starts. While he did miss time with an injury this past year, he didn’t miss a game in the previous two seasons. When Hunt was on the field, he was excellent. In ten games, he only had four blown blocks and one penalty.

Burford’s blown block percentage was 3 percent. Hunt’s was 0.8 percent this year, 1.3 percent last year, and 2.0 in 2021. He’s gotten better every season. This next contract should be Hunt’s “prime” years.

Spotrac’s market value had Hunt earning a contract for four years at $47.4 million, equating to roughly $11.8 million per season. That would make him the 16th-highest-paid guard in the NFL. The 49ers may get a bit of a discount since Hunt missed seven games in 2023.

If the team elects to restructure one of their team captains’ contracts, fitting Hunt under the salary cap should be relatively easy.

Now, there will be a healthy market for Hunt, who has played close to a dominant level for three seasons. So, the 49ers won’t be the only team in the running. But they give Hunt a chance to win, get the recognition he deserves, and play in an offense he’s already familiar with.

Having experience at right guard will take pressure off Colton McKivitz or whoever starts at right tackle. It’ll also help the center. Whatever the 49ers elect to do, investing in one of these positions must be a top priority. And you’re unlikely to find a better option than Hunt.

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