Kyle Shanahan

49ers' O-line maintains crucial continuity heading into 2024

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The 49ers featured one of the better offensive lines in the NFL during the 2023 season.

And there still is plenty of room for improvement after San Francisco's offense ranked second in the NFL in total yards and third in points scored during the 2023 regular season.

The 49ers re-signed veteran right guard Jon Feliciano to ensure their best five offensive linemen from last season have a chance to remain together.

Even if San Francisco does not find a starting-caliber offensive lineman in the draft, the unit should be better just because of continuity.

“The more O-line play together, the better they get,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said at the NFL Annual Meeting. “It’s the one position where five guys really have to work a lot through practice in the offseason, training camp and throughout the year.”

“You watch an O-line in the last half of the year and compare it to the first, they usually get better, if they stay healthy. We’ve been able to do that for the most part. Excited to get our group back. We’ll always keep looking to add and improve through the draft, to get more competition in there. But I’ve been real happy with our group.”

Behind the 49ers' offensive line, Christian McCaffrey rushed for a league-best 1,459 yards and Brock Purdy led the NFL with a 113.0 passer rating.

Still, San Francisco could use a draft pick as early as No. 31 overall to create some competition or provide depth along the offensive line.

But, right now, it looks as if the 49ers are content with a lineup that features All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, left guard Aaron Banks, center Jake Brendel, Feliciano and right tackle Colton McKivitz.

After a rough beginning, McKivitz got better throughout the season. His most-notable showing was the NFC Championship game. He contributed to holding Detroit star defensive end Aidan Hutchinson without a sack or a tackle in the 49ers’ come-from-behind victory.

The 49ers awarded McKivitz this offseason with a one-year contract extension through the 2025 season. He is set to count $2.9 million against the salary cap this year and $4.7 million next year.

McKivitz was a first-year starter in 2023 after former right tackle Mike McGlinchey signed a five-year, $87.5 million contract with the Denver Broncos as a free agent.

“He’s done a hell of a job at right tackle for us,” Shanahan said of McKivitz. “He did it all this year. We had a lot of confidence going into this year. He’s the exact type of guy we want. He’s one of the real leaders on our team.”

Feliciano, a nine-year veteran, is back on a one-year, $2.75 million contract after replacing Spencer Burford in the starting lineup last season.

Feliciano was forced out of the Super Bowl LVIII with a pectoral injury, which proved costly in the 49ers’ 25-22 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Burford missed the assignment to block Kansas City defensive tackle Chris Jones on a critical third-down play in overtime, which forced an incomplete pass. The 49ers settled for a short field to open the door for Patrick Mahomes to produce the game-winning drive.

“I didn’t really know how much of a scheme fit he’d be until he got with us,” Shanahan said of Feliciano. “He had to change his style a little bit and get used to how we do it. He didn’t jump off right away. But by training camp, you could tell we had a real good player.

“Once he got out there on the field, the way he was in games on Sundays, the way he reacted in the huddle, the ways guys gravitated to him, you could tell football wasn’t too big for him.”

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