Two years ago, Zane Beadles was one of the most coveted offensive linemen on the open market. After a failed stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he'll attempt to recoup his value in San Francisco.
Beadle expressed his excitement about his new team over Twitter:
The six-year veteran figures to take over at left guard after playing there almost exclusively during his first five NFL seasons. A 2010 second-round pick, Beadles has never missed a game and has made 94 of a possible 96 starts since his arrival.
A lack of experience, depth and talent at the guard position hurt the Niners last season, especially in the wake of Mike Iupati signing with the Arizona Cardinals. San Francisco also lost Alex Boone to the Minnesota Vikings this offseason, which made matters even worse.
The 49ers tied for 31st in the NFL with 53 sacks allowed in 2015 and were just 21st with 96.5 rushing yards per game, which suggests they desperately needed an offensive line upgrade.
San Francisco figures to have a much faster-paced offense in 2016 under new head coach Chip Kelly, so having offensive linemen with great stamina is a must. Beadles will undoubtedly be put to the test in that regard.
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The Jaguars released Beadles as a cost-cutting move earlier this month. He was due a $4.98 million base salary as part of the $30 million deal he signed in 2014, a number that far exceeded his on-field value. His performance was so dispiriting in his first season that he entered camp last year battling for a starting position.
While Beadles ultimately won the job and stayed in the lineup for the entire season, a lingering foot injury hampered his effectiveness. He was injured in October, and it's unclear if he was ever 100 percent the rest of the way. Pro Football Focus ranked Beadles 64th out of 81 qualifying guards last season.
Overall, Football Outsiders ranked the Jaguars 16th in run blocking and 25th in pass blocking.
Upon his release, Beadles released a statement on Twitter saying he understood the move from a business perspective and was "grateful" for his time with the Jaguars.
Nonetheless, a change of scenery feels necessary here. Beadles was a rising star in Denver, earning a Pro Bowl berth and seemingly on his way to being a semi-regular in Hawaii. Jacksonville has long been a place where high-cost free agents go and see their careers falter. Former teammate Julius Thomas also suffered from a massive production dip after leaving Denver for Jacksonville.
Perhaps a move to the 49ers will be enough for Beadles to rejuvenate his career as he approaches age 30.