All was quiet for the San Francisco 49ers for a little while there - after they signed Mario Manningham and made sure Alex Smith was under contract for the foreseeable future, the free agency period wound down. It did, however, wind down without any starting right guard in place, the only perceived opening in the 49ers starting lineup on both sides of the ball. Earlier today, we already took a look at whether or not they might draft a guard early, even if the numbers suggest they won't.
Now, it looks like the 49ers are still looking to address the position by bringing in an interesting player to work out. According to Adam Caplan, they're bringing in former St. Louis Rams center Jason Brown. It's unclear if the 49ers think Brown will be able to play right guard, but that seems the most likely scenario, as the team already has former Pro Bowler Jonathan Goodwin at center.
Brown was released by the Rams in March, when they could no longer stomach the huge salary they offered him after just a couple years in the league. He played with the Baltimore Ravens out of college, and played very well, earning one of the wealthiest contracts for a center at the time. But his play in St. Louis was far from expiring.
As noted by SB Nation's Rams blog, Turf Show Times:
Brown never really lived up to his status as a one of the top free agent linemen that season. He underperformed with the Rams, getting manhandled by bigger defensive tackles. Last season it finally proved to be too much for even Steve Spagnuolo, who benched Brown and replaced him in the lineup with Tony Wragge.
49ers fans will remember Wragge as the backup who wasn't good enough to remain a backup when the 49ers only had late-round rookies to compete with him. That obviously doesn't inspire a ton of confidence, but as it stands right now, Brown was great for one team and pretty poor for another.
He likely could have remained in St. Louis for a chance to redeem himself if not for his big contract. He might be the only guy left on the market with real starting potential, so the 49ers could be onto something, though there's not a ton of cap room left to pay him - not that he'll command a big contract again at this point in his career.