Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports



Tackle Garry Gilliam is the newest member of the San Francisco 49ers roster. The former Seattle Seahawks restricted free agent signed his original round tender with his former team in March, which could have earned him $1.8 million. Of course, that money was not guaranteed and it appeared that Seattle made the offer simply as an insurance policy heading into minicamps and training camp. The Seahawks could have eventually decided to go in another direction at very little cost.

Gilliam originally signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Because he was undrafted, the original round tender that Seattle designated meant that any interested team – like the 49ers – could come in and offer Gilliam a contract without the need to give up a draft pick as compensation. Seattle would then have five days to match any competing offer. That's the scenario that unfolded.

Gilliam visited with head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch on Thursday and the 49ers were apparently very interested in signing the tackle. As reported last week, they offered Gilliam a multi-year deal – which he turned down. His agent, Mark Clouser, told The News Tribune that it was a three-year deal that was front-loaded.

Then the 49ers offered Gilliam a two-year deal with even more front-loaded money. Gilliam and his agent declined that offer as well.

Why would Glliam and his agent decline two multi-year deals when Seattle was just willing to give him a one-year deal for less money? According to Clouser, they didn't want to give up any of Gilliam's years in unrestricted free agency. Becoming an unrestricted free agent was important to them.

Rather than pass on Gilliam, the 49ers persisted and offered him a one-year deal worth $2.2 million with $1.4 million guaranteed. Gilliam agreed to that deal on Monday. That started the clock ticking for the Seahawks, who now had until Saturday to decide if they wanted to match the offer. The decision didn't take that long. Less than a day later, Seattle officially announced that it would not match the offer and that Gilliam was free to join the 49ers.

Now, even if they had to overspend, the 49ers get some backup competition with starting experience at tackle. For Gilliam, he has come a long way from the $12,000 guaranteed he was offered when he entered the NFL and the $600,000 he earned as a starting tackle for the Seahawks last season.

To learn more about Gilliam, his fascinating path to the NFL and millions with the 49ers, read the article from The News Tribune.