Niners sign Willig, bring in two guards

Every successful offensive line needs a guy like Matt Willig. So the 49ers signed the 10-year veteran to a one-year contract Thursday.

Willig can play virtually four positions across the line and was the first player to step in at guard or tackle last season when starters were injured or needed a break. He was called on often to fill that role in 2001 and helped stabilize a line that started the same five players from one end to the next for the second consecutive season.

The 6-foot-8, 315-pound Willig is the second unrestricted free agent the Niners have re-signed since the free agency period began March 1, and both are on the offensive line. San Francisco signed Pro Bowl center Jeremy Newberry to a six-year, $20 million contract last week.

At 33, Willig is the second-oldest player on the team. He could be the oldest by the end of this month unless 39-year-old Pro Bowl guard Ray Brown comes to a contract agreement with the team. Brown still is on the roster after he agreed to have a $500,000 bonus that was due on March 1 pushed back to the end of the month.

The Niners are looking for Brown to restructure his contract to stay with the team. The Niners are preparing for that not to happen. Packers guard Mike Wahle visited Niners headquarters in Santa Clara on Wednesday, and Raiders guard Frank Middleton was in for a visit and physical Thursday. Middleton was a three-year starter at Tampa Bay before joining Oakland.

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