When newly-extended linebacker Ahmad Brooks spoke with reporters Tuesday, he said he had been at team headquarters that day working out. Teammates who were also in the weight room that morning, according to Brooks: defensive end Justin Smith, running back Anthony Dixon, defensive end Ray McDonald and wide receiver Joshua Morgan, who also is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
After Morgan broke his leg Oct. 9, head coach Jim Harbaugh said that he wanted the receiver to be part of the organization moving forward. "We've told him that, and we'll make that a priority," Harbaugh said at the time.
Still, no deal was struck during the season. The two sides have begun talking about a contract extension, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions, but nothing is imminent. Morgan is expected to reach free agency on March 13 where he feels he could become a hot commodity.
Morgan's statistics never have been eye-popping since the 49ers drafted him in the sixth round in 2008. But that is due in large part to the underwhelming passing offenses Morgan has been part of. Prospective teams may look at his age - 26 -- his toughness, durability and his potential and conclude that he would be a wiser purchase in free agency than many of the other receivers in the upcoming free-agent class.
That's one of the things working against Morgan and two of the other high-profile free-agents-to-be on the team, safety Dashon Goldson and cornerback Carlos Rogers. There promise to be a number of quality free agents at their respective positions, making it a buyer's market. And in Morgan's case, wide receiver also is a very deep position in the draft. The 49ers' stance on Morgan is likely to be what it was a year ago with their own free agents: Allow them to test the market but wager that it is softer than what the player is expecting.
Still, it will be interesting to see how the 49ers, who have been ironclad in sticking to the values they place on their own free agents, will react if Morgan, a favorite in the locker room and among the coaching staff and someone who plays a position of need in San Francisco, has an ardent suitor or two in free agency.
Many of you have been asking about how the Brooks' deal - six years, $44.5 million - affects the 49ers' salary cap. That won't be known until the parameters of the deal are filed with the league this week. The best guess is that the cap hit will not be huge and that the $44.5 million figure is inflated. Of course, we don't even know what the league's salary cap is, either. The figures reported in recent months have been estimates based on last year's cap figure.
-- Matt Barrows