San Francisco 49ers C Jonathan Goodwin finished up the final year of his three-year contract which he signed in 2011. The veteran said he could be thinking about retirement and even tweeted that he doesn't know the exact future of his football career.
Assuming Goodwin doesn't return, the 49ers would be expecting a change at center, the first time since the 2010 season that someone different will take over. Here are the current candidates who are under contract for 2014:
Snyder came back to the 49ers as a free agent after spending the 2012 season with the Arizona Cardinals. Prior to being in Arizona, he spent seven seasons with the 49ers and was the starting RG in 2011. In his second stint with San Francisco, he was the swing lineman where he could be plugged in to any position if needed. In Week 13 against the St. Louis Rams when LT Joe Staley went down, Alex Boone was moved to left tackle while Snyder became the LG for the remainder of the game. Based on experience, Snyder would be the favorite to take over, but the 49ers could prefer his versatility to play elsewhere if needed.
Kilgore was a fifth-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2011 and has remained as a reserve throughout the last three seasons. He has been mostly seen in jumbo packages or providing a few breathers for the starters on a handful of snaps. Kilgore should be well-traveled having been in the same system under Jim Harbaugh's staff and is able to play either the guard or center positions.
Looney was initially drafted as a guard with a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The 49ers list him as a G/C, showing he could be an emergency center if needed. After being inactive for the entire 2012 season, he made his NFL debut in garbage time in Week 12 against the Washington Redskins for a few snaps.
He had one significant game of playing time against the Rams in Week 13 where Staley left the game early. After Boone was moved to LT and Snyder switched to RG, Looney took over at left guard for the entire game where he was on the field for 62 snaps. After two seasons in the NFL, he proved to be a decent in pass protection in his one game. Looney would be a long shot to win the starting job at center with more experience in front of him.
Seymour has the odds against him of all interior 49ers lineman under contact in 2014. He was signed off the Seahawks practice squad after Week 13 as Tank Carradine was placed on the injured reserve. A seventh-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt in 2013, the rookie lineman was inactive for the last seven games, including three in the postseason. It's unclear where the 49ers currently envision him, but at minimum he could compete at center.
A draft pick in 2014?
With only two players having experience at center in the NFL on the 53-man roster, the 49ers should draft at least one interior lineman to compete for a roster spot. With at least 12 picks expected for the 2014 NFL Draft, Trent Baalke should look to add depth.
49ers 2014 Draft Picks:
1. First round: Own pick, No. 30 overall
2. Second round: Kansas City Chiefs pick acquired for Alex Smith, No. 56 overall
3. Second round: Own pick, No. 61 overall
4. Third round: Tennessee Titans pick acquired for a second round pick in a 2013 draft day trade, No. 77 overall
5. Third round: Own pick, No. 94 overall
6. Third or fourth round: Compensatory, TBA
7. Fourth round: Own pick, TBA
8. Fifth round: Own pick, TBA
9. Sixth round: Own pick, TBA
10. Seventh round: New Orleans Saints pick acquired for Parys Haralson, TBA
11. Seventh round: Carolina Panthers pick acquired for Colin Jones in 2012, TBA
12. Seventh round: Own pick, TBA