49ers sign former Hillcrest High, Utes guard Zane Beadles to three-year deal
John Raoux, AP
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers have landed an experienced left guard who could fit right in and replace departed Alex Boone.
San Francisco signed Zane Beadles to a three-year contract Tuesday after he was released March 3 by Jacksonville in a move to create salary cap space.
Beadles, who prepped at Hillcrest High and played collegiately for the Utes, is a durable offensive lineman who has started all 16 games in each of the past five seasons — the last two with Jacksonville after he spent his first four seasons with Denver and started all but two games his rookie year.
It's unclear which quarterback he will be blocking for come the start of the 2016 season: Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick, who has been the subject of trade talk since the start of free agency earlier this month.
"I got a text from Blaine saying welcome to the team, congratulations," Beadles said.
The 29-year-old Beadles will help fill a void after Boone's departure to the Vikings in free agency. Beadles was a second-round draft pick by the Broncos in 2010 out of Utah.
He is most comfortable at left guard, where Boone played last season.
Beadles visited team headquarters last week and appreciated the 49ers showing interest in him after a stretch of uncertainty — even if he had study up on the 49ers given he has played only in the AFC so far.
Of $1.3 billion Levi's Stadium, the site of the Super Bowl last month, he said, "It looks like a beautiful place to play."
"I spoke to Joe Staley, we share an agent," Beadles said of the Niners' veteran left tackle. "Just loved what I heard from everybody. I thought it would be a really good fit for me. I definitely think that system fits my strengths a little bit better."
San Francisco will soon begin its first offseason program under new coach Chip Kelly, known for his fast-paced schemes.
And that's fine with Beadles, who was used to that style during his time in Denver.
"The up tempo offense is something that I enjoy," he said. "I had a blast playing it. I'm excited to get back to that again."
While his departure from Jacksonville wasn't easy, Beadles is eager to get started fresh out West.
"Zane is a talented, intelligent player who will be a wonderful addition to our locker room and the Bay Area community,"49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. "His durability has been a valuable asset throughout his first six NFL seasons and his athleticism makes him a great fit to play in the up-tempo style of offense we intend to play. An NFL Man of the Year nominee in both Denver and Jacksonville, we look forward to our team benefiting from Zane's leadership and experience."