Editor's note: This week we conclude a series in which we will examine the 49ers’ top 10 scheduled free agents. For each player, we will provide reasons why the 49ers should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.
Levine Toilolo, TE
Tight end Levine Toilolo gained stature in the 49ers’ offense as the team drifted more toward the running game in the playoffs.
Toilolo, in essence, became the 49ers’ No. 2 tight end behind George Kittle. After playing 19 and 15 snaps of offense in the team’s first two playoff games, he was on the field for seven offensive plays in the Super Bowl.
Toilolo is a blocking specialist. He caught just two passes for 10 yards while appearing in 13 games. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.
Reasons to bring him back
The price should be right. Toilolo is likely to be signed at low guaranteed money and with a cost that is not much more than the veteran minimum. There does not figure to be much of a league-wide market for his services.
The 49ers should be able to take their time, too. If the 49ers prioritize other contracts, Toilolo should still be available down the road. He does not figure to be among the first wave of NFL free-agent signings. Levine's round of golf in Cabo San Lucas with coach Kyle Shanahan probably does not hurt, either.
Reasons he does not return
Toilolo, 28, is a seven-year NFL veteran. Ross Dwelley has worked hard on his blocking, and he took over as the starter when Kittle was out of action last season.
The 49ers could look to the later rounds of the draft to fill his spot. The 49ers might want to add a blocking tight end who has a chance to be a factor in the passing game, too.
There is little downside to bringing back Toilolo to compete for a roster spot in 2020. The 49ers can save about $500,000 on the cap if a rookie takes his role as a reserve tight end, but that decision can be made at the end of training camp.