The 49ers did not pick up the fifth-year contract option on guard Joshua Garnett ahead of Friday's deadline, meaning the 2016 first-round draft pick can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
After starting in 11 games as a rookie in 2016, the offensive lineman has played in just seven over the last two seasons. He missed the entirety of the 2017 season and then most of the 2018 preseason with a knee injury. Garnett dislocated his toe after 14 snaps in the 2018 season opener, and then underwent thumb surgery in November before playing in three of the 49ers' final four games.
At Februray's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, both 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch said they've been happy with Garnett's performance when he has been healthy. That hasn't happened enough, according to Shanahan.
“I’m just really hoping that he can come back and get in a full OTAs, a full training camp," Shanahan told reporters in Indianapolis at the time. "With his ability and if he can get in the practice time, then he should have a good chance to help us.”
Had the 49ers picked up Garnett's option, he would have been owed the average salary of the third through 25th-highest players at his position when the option was exercised. Thus, Garnett would have been paid $10.350 million in the 2020 season.
Instead, he has one more chance to prove to the 49ers that he can stay healthy.