Letting Sims Go Would Be a Mistake for 49ers

At this time last year no one thought a whole lot o Barry Sims. He was coming off a mediocre 2008 campaign and it wasn't even a lock that he'd make it out of training camp onto the 2009 roster. However, not only did Sims make the team, but he had an excellent season. Just in time for free agency.

Pressed into duty when starting LT Joe Staley went down with a knee injury at Indianapolis, Sims started the next seven games and was every bit Staley's equal as a pass blocker. He wasn't quite as strong in the running game, but really what 49er lineman was last year?

The point is that Sims showed, even at 35 years of age, that he's still got something in the tank. Furthermore, unlike Tony Pashos, another tackle who the Niners have already lost in free agency, Sims is versatile enough to play both sides, which is an invaluable asset for teams who have 45-man gameday roster limits. Most squads dress just seven offensive linemen, and San Francisco is no different.

Two teams, the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks, have expressed interest in Sims and now news has come out that he's got a visit lined up with the Redskins later this week. The 49ers should strongly consider reaching out to his agent before he makes that flight.

Losing Sims would leave Adam Snyder - last year's starting right tackle - as the only experienced reserve on the roster, and that's assuming that the 49ers will find another starter in the draft. Just about every mock draft in the world has them taking a tackle with one of their two first round selections (picks 13 and 17), but what if the guy they've got their hearts set on is already gone? What happens then?

Do they reach for someone they don't quite like, pay him a bunch of money as a first round pick and hope he works out? Do they sign some stopgap veteran out of desperation? If they allow Sims to leave, not only does it force the team's hand in the draft, but it also puts them in the unenviable position of having to rely on Snyder more than they'd want to in 2010.

Sims proved he's superior to Snyder last season. The team needs to reach out to him before it's too late.

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