San Francisco 49ers 2023 free company tracker: Security Tashaun Gipson Sr. returns
This is an ongoing analysis of the 49ers’ movements during this free agency season. The legal manipulation window begins Monday at 9 a.m. PT and the NFL’s new league year, which allows teams to officially sign free agents who played elsewhere in 2022, begins Wednesday.
Best remaining available: The Athletic’s top 150 free agents
March 12th: The 49ers agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million contract with Gipson, according to a team source. Gipson proved an excellent addition to youngster Talanoa Hufanga after he was signed by Jimmie Ward in late August following a hamstring injury. In fact, 32-year-old Gipson played so well that the 49ers traded Ward to nickel cornerback when he returned to the lineup. With Gipson and Hufanga under contract, the 49ers appear safe and would likely want Ward, a forthcoming free agent, back if he agrees to play Nickel again this season.
With the highest-paying safes on the market poised to soon be signing $20 million annually in deals (Chargers’ Derwin James Jr. leads the way with $19 million APY), the signing of Gipson represents for less than $3 million represents tremendous potential value for the 49er. He ranked first in the missed tackle rate (2.9 percent) and second in the passer rating allowed (53.0) of all NFL safeties last season. The discount comes because Gipson turns 33 next season, so the 49ers are betting the fountain of youth he discovered this season will keep flowing into 2023. After years of struggling to pick up interceptions, the 49ers led the league with 20 picks in 2022 and an Gipson went through the team with five of them.
Colton McKivitz is back, and the 49ers have more O-Line work to do in free agency
9th March: According to his agent, the team signed McKivitz to a two-year deal worth $5.8 million. With Mike McGlinchey likely to go freehand, McKivitz will be the frontrunner starting 2023 with the right tackle unless the team signs a more prominent tackle in the coming days. McKivitz, 26, was a fifth-round pick in 2020. He has competed in 28 games over the past three seasons with five starts — two in left tackle and three in right protection.
The 49ers avoided the constrained free agent negotiation process with McKivitz by agreeing terms with him prior to free agency, saving the team valuable salary cap room. The 49ers will open the legal manipulation period Monday with about $3 million in cap, but the top 51 rule should help create room while they do business. The 49ers may also undertake a number of contract restructurings to free up spending funds.
(Photo by Tashaun Gipson Sr.: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)