The 49ers parlayed their surplus of running backs into another offensive lineman.
It was going to be difficult for running back Matt Breida to win a role on the roster this season among a group that includes Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson.
The 49ers wisely placed a second-round tender on Breida as a restricted free agent, then dealt him Saturday to the Miami Dolphins for a fifth-round pick, No. 153 overall.
Just hours after acquiring veteran left tackle Trent Williams in a trade with Washington, the 49ers added West Virginia offensive lineman Colton McKivitz to join a 2020 draft class that also features South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
And it’s not out of the question that McKivitz could put himself in position to be compete for a spot in the starting lineup, too. The 49ers released Mike Person earlier in the offseason. McKivitz saw limited action in college at right guard. He primarily played right tackle in his first three seasons, and left tackle as a senior.
Daniel Brunskill and veteran Tom Compton are expected to compete for the job to replace Person. Now, McKivitz could be a factor, too.
McKivitz (6-foot-6, 306 pounds) was a second team All-American and Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year with Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey. He was an all-conference academic choice as a freshman, which suggests he has the smarts to adjust to the 49ers’ complex blocking schemes.
The decision to trade Breida did not come easily for the 49ers. The club signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2017 from Georgia Southern, and he immediately outperformed fourth-round draft pick Joe Williams from the beginning. Williams never played in a regular-season game with the 49ers.
Breida was the 49ers’ leading rusher in 2018 with 814 on 153 carries for a 5.3-yard average. He was one of three running backs on the team last season who rushed for at least 500 yards.
In three NFL seasons, Breida, 25, rushed for 1,902 yards and six touchdowns on 381 carries (5.0 average) despite battling injuries along the way.
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