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Now that the 49ers have reached an agreement (in principle) with Sims, it allows the team to put its players in the best position along the offensive line.
Many remember Sims as the Raider's false start king. He did finish tied for first place in the league in false starts. I think you have to take the bad with the good. This is the same Barry Sims that held pass-rushing phenom Jared Allen to zero sacks in the season finale last year.
He is a veteran with starting experience. Over the last 9 years Sims started 118 games. Jonas Jennings has started 73 games in 7 seasons while Eric Heitman started 80 games in 6 seasons. They are the longest tenured starting lineman on the 49ers.
What Sims brings is depth at a position that sorely needs it. Jennings, the 49ers prize free agent acquisition in 2005, has not played a full 16 game season in his career. The closest was in 2002 as a member of the Bills when he started 15 games. Over the last three years Jennings has averaged 7 games a season. Meaning that on average, the backup right tackle will play about half the season.
Sims is not the savior of the line. What he allows the 49ers to do, though, is push Jennings for a starting spot. Jennings is a great tackle when he is on the field and I doubt Sims will beat him out, even if the team sorely wants him to. Competition always breeds improvement, though and whomever wins the spot is going to play well for the 49ers.
It also allows the 49ers to move rookie Chilo Rachal back to guard, his more natural position. More time at the guard spot means faster development and if Rachal has to step onto the field this season he will be better equipped to succeed.
I'm sure Adam Snyder is loving the move, since he can stay at guard, the position the team has been trying to move him to for a couple seasons. Snyder will no longer be needed to fill in to a tackle spot.
Why you ask? If (GASP!) Joe Staley is injured, Jennings can move over to left tackle, Sims can fill in on the right side, and the 49ers will not have to stretch to play someone out of position.
So overall, this may be one of the most important signings for the 49ers. Not because Sims is going to wow people with his o-line play. Be prepared to see a false start or two from Sims.
The move allows the 49ers to keep players at their natural position and it gives them insurance for the seemingly inevitable - an injury to the starting right tackle.