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49ers free-agent report: Mike Iupati

The San Francisco 49ers have 14 potential unrestricted free agents who would hit the open market when the new league year begins on Tuesday. Let’s continue our countdown with a three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman who was once named All Pro.

LG Mike Iupati

A first-round pick of the Niners, No. 17 overall in 2010 out of Idaho, Iupati was recently tabbed the best 49ers free agent -- the 12th-best in the league -- in a poll by ESPN NFL Nation’s Kevin Seifert and ESPN NFL scout Matt Williamson.

49ers career: A mauler at left guard, Iupati started every game in his first three seasons before missing four in 2013 and one last year with a concussion. Injury -- a nagging elbow injury kept him out of the Pro Bowl -- and ineffectiveness slowed him last year, as he was also coming back from a broken ankle suffered in the previous January’s NFC title game. The Niners veering away from a power-running game and more toward a spread-passing attack did Iupati no favors, either.

Argument for keeping Iupati: The Niners insist they are returning to that vaunted power-running attack in 2015 and that would play to Iupati’s strengths. Why break up a good thing, right? Hey, his plus-18.5 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus was second among all NFL guards.

Argument for letting Iupati walk: Sure, the 49ers say they will run the ball more, but incoming/returning O-line coach Chris Foerster was more of a zone-blocking scheme guy at his last stop in Washington, and that’s not Iupati’s strength. Besides, Iupati’s minus-7.5 pass-blocking grade was 55th among 78 guards, per PFF.

A bold prediction: A change of scenery can do Iupati good and he leaves for another team attempting a makeover. Washington is interested.