ESPN is reporting that the 49ers are working on a deal with recently cut Panthers running back DeShaun Foster. The team has not yet verified that that's the case, but a Foster-to-San Francisco move makes sense. Over the past few years, the 49ers have paid close attention to teams with salary-cap problems, anticipating which players they might let go to make space. When the Panthers released OL Mike Wahl this month, I asked Scot McCloughan if the 49ers were interested. They weren't. Instead, it was another Panther they were eyeing.
Foster, who was cut Feb. 21, seems like a good fit. He's 28, he's from California (Orange County) and he's been splitting carries with DeAngelo Williams in recent seasons, an arrangement that likely has elongated his career. The 49ers need someone who not only can give Frank Gore a breather every now and then, they need someone who can assume the starting position should Gore get hurt. Foster has nice speed -- he's ripped off a couple of 70-yard TD runs in recent years -- and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. The team has been wanting to replace Maurice Hicks for a while. The 49ers drafted Thomas Clayton last season with that in mind, but the coaching staff preferred Hicks over Clayton, who was relegated to the practice squad all season.
In other news, 49ers' chief negotiator Paraag Marathe was scheduled to rekindle contract talks with Isaac Sopoaga's agent today. Any offer the 49ers make will have to be pretty sweet. With Corey Williams and Albert Haynesworth essentially off the market, Sopoaga likely will see plenty of demand come Feb. 29.
-- Matt Barrows