The 49ers and defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga have agreed to terms on a five-year deal that will keep the big, 325 pounder off the free-agent market, his agent said. "Negotiations had been ongoing for a while. There had been a lot of back and forth," agent Kenny Zuckerman said this afternoon. "As it got down to the wire, the deal started to come together."
The two sides had been negotiating since the start of the season. The team's chief negotiator, Paraag Marathe, called Zuckerman yesterday and the final pieces were put together today. Zuckerman declined to give the specifics of the contract, but rest assured it's a hefty one. Dallas signed NT Jay Ratliff last season to a five-year deal worth $20.5 million with $8 million guaranteed. With Green Bay DT Corey Williams and Tennessee DT Albert Haynesworth getting the franchise tag last week, Sopoaga would have been the most desireable interior lineman on the market if he had made it to free agency. Williams and Haynesworth both will earn at least $6.36 million this season because they were franchised.
Sopoaga has said all along that he wanted to remain in San Francisco, and that likely helped the two sides reach a deal as well. The 26-year-old Sopoaga mainly played behind Aubrayo Franklin at nose tackle last season but can play any of the defensive line positions in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme. There is a good chance he will take over Bryant Young's left defensive end position this season.
One of the 49ersí finest offseason moves ever was highlighted yet again this afternoon. The Redskins parted ways with receiver Brandon Lloyd, who was a colossal disappointment in the nationís capital. As the Postís Jason La Canfora writes on his blog: ďThe final stats: 25 receptions, zero touchdowns. For $10 million in guaranteed money.Ē La Canfora also could add the two draft picks the 49ers received in exchange for Lloyd, whose amazing acrobatics were overshadowed by a frustrating temerity when it came to catches passes over the middle of the field. The 49ers used those picks, a third and fourth rounder, to select WR Brandon Williams and LB Jay Moore.
The two cornerbacks who looked especially good at the Senior Bowl, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Leodis McKelvin, didnít disappoint at the combine today. Rodgers-Cromartie put up some freakishly impressive numbers, including a 4.33 40 time and a 38.5-inch vertical jump. Rodgers-Cromartie turned in several leaping, acrobatic interceptions in Mobile in which he used his long arms to reach up and snag the ball. Thatís why his 17 reps of 225 pounds is pretty impressive, too. Long-armed guys typically donít do as well in that drill. McKelvin is built more low to the ground. He ran a 4.38 40 and had a 33.5-inch vertical. San Jose State CB Dwight Lowery didnít help himself by running a 4.62 40. Cal safety Thomas DeCoud looked good with a 4.48.
-- Matt Barrows