Byham was the 49ers' third tight end, but also the best blocker among the group.
"It might not be long before Byham is considered one of the best pure blocking tight ends in the league," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. wrote during the lockout.
The 49ers are sticking with a power scheme on offense under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh. Byham likely would have played a significant role in the ground game.
NFL seasons often do not hinge on free agency. I cannot remember one hinging on a third tight end. Still, the 49ers could stand to catch a break involving something other than bones and joints.