How 49ers' starting lineups stack up after first negotiating wave


Now, the 49ers can go play football with NFL talent at every position on offense and defense.

The team’s reported agreement with center Jake Brendel on a four-year contract extension means the 49ers have filled all of their starting jobs — for now, anyway.

The team still can acquire players to bump some projected starters out of today’s tentative lineup and into backup roles through free agency, the 2023 NFL Draft or competition in training camp.

The 49ers still have one glaring void at kicker. Reliable veteran Robbie Gould declared he would not be back after six seasons with the club. Filling that specialist role is the last major issues with the roster — aside from backup positions.

As of now, here is how the 49ers stack up on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball:


Quarterback: Trey Lance and Brock Purdy. Or is it Brock Purdy and Trey Lance? Sam Darnold fits in as a nice insurance policy.

Running back: Christian McCaffrey starts, obviously, and the backup group is strong with Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason and Ty Davis-Price.

Fullback: Kyle Juszczyk is the best in the business.

Wide receiver: Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are a solid 1-2 punch. Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud and Danny Gray will battle for roles.

Tight end: George Kittle has things under control, but the team could use more depth to join Charlie Woerner.

Left tackle: Trent Williams, the top left tackle in the NFL for a while, is showing no signs of slowing down.

Left guard: Aaron Banks looks to be a long-term answer after a promising first season as a starter.

Center: Brendel took advantage of his first starting opportunity and cashed in after seeing what the open market had to offer.

Right guard: Spencer Burford won the starting job as a rookie. He should continue to improve.

Right tackle: Colton McKivitz gets the first crack at starting after Mike McGlinchey’s departure to Denver. Jaylon Moore — and/or a draft pick — also could be in the mix.


Defensive end: Nick Bosa won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. On the other side, Drake Jackson is expected to come back strong and make a major contribution.

Defensive tackle: Javon Hargrave was the 49ers’ big move of free agency. He joins Arik Armstead on the interior to give the team incredible strength in the middle. At this point, anything they can get from Javon Kinlaw is a bonus. The return of Kevin Givens provides another key rotational piece.

Linebacker: Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw are about as good as it gets. Right now, Oren Burks is the third linebacker in base situations, which accounts for about 1/3 of defensive snaps.

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Cornerback: Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir are just fine, but the 49ers certainly can get deeper and stronger. Samuel Womack is the front-runner to replace Jimmie Ward at nickel back.

Safeties: Talanoa Hufanga, an All-Pro selection last season, and veteran Tashaun Gipson are back. They combined for nine interceptions. The draft is a good spot for the 49ers to bring in a talented youngster to sit and learn for a season behind Gipson.

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