BILLINGS — After signing a three-year contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers last March, Montana native and veteran offensive lineman Mike Person cautioned that nothing in the NFL is ever guaranteed.
Person learned that lesson on Thursday when he was released by the 49ers.
The news was initially reported on Twitter by ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter. Person confirmed the report to 406mtsports.com via text message but has yet to comment further.
49ers just informed starting guard Mike Person that he is being released, per source. A veteran guard now available.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 19, 2020
Person, a Glendive product and former Montana State offensive lineman, started 33 games at right guard for the 49ers in the past two seasons, including Super Bowl LIV in February in Miami.
The 49ers led in the fourth quarter but ultimately lost the Super Bowl to Kansas City, 31-20.
ESPN reported Thursday that San Francisco had come to terms on a one-year deal with guard Tom Compton, formerly of the Jets.
Last March, Person, 31, signed a three-year, $8.2 million contract with San Francisco, $3 million of which was guaranteed.
At the time, Person warned against complacency, noting that his tour with the 49ers could come to an end at a moment's notice.
“It’s nice knowing that I’ll have a home for (the 2019) season, but it’s the same deal. They can let you go at any time if you’re not making the grade,” he said. “You can’t let it go to your head.
“You still show up to work every day and you’re the same guy you were for the first eight years of your career. It’s just a matter of showing up to work and, if anything, working even harder to prove to everyone that you deserve this.”
It appears Person was a victim of the salary cap: According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the 49ers cleared $2.5 million of cap space by releasing him.
Person was originally drafted by the 49ers in the seventh round in 2011 and rejoined the team before the 2018 campaign, but also had journeyman stints with the Colts, Chiefs, Falcons, Rams and Seahawks.
Person, a 2006 graduate of Dawson County High School in Glendive, started 35 consecutive games at Montana State. As a senior in 2010, he helped the Bobcats capture the Big Sky Conference championship, the first of three straight league titles won by MSU.
Person helped San Francisco to a 13-3 record and the NFC West division championship during the 2019 season. The 49ers ranked No. 2 in the NFL in rushing with 144.1 yards per game. Their 23 rushing touchdowns led the league.
In the NFC Championship game, a 37-20 victory over Green Bay, Person helped San Francisco rush for 285 yards on 42 carries. Running back Raheem Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns.
To this point, Person has played in 73 career regular season games, starting 48. He now enters the free agent market.