*****UPDATE***** The 49ers announced that Lee's extension is for six years or through the 2018 season. His agent, Eddie Edwards, said, "He's excited to be in San Francisco for the next seven years. He loves the fans, he loves his teammates, he loves the organization."
Said GM Trent Baalke in a statement: ""The 49ers are pleased to have reached a long term contract extension with Andy. Andy has established himself as one of the top players in the game at his position. He is a valued member of our organization and community. As we stated earlier this year, it is our objective to keep the core of this team together long term, and this is just another step in that direction."
General manager Trent Baalke and the 49ers' chief contract negotiator, Paraag Marathe, were observed having a conversation at the end of Tuesday's practice, usually a sign that a deal is in the works. Then this morning team president Jed York tweeted that the 49ers are close to an extension for one of their All-Pro players.
All those clues have led to this outcome: Punter Andy Lee is getting a raise. A league source confirmed a contract extension this morning, although the details of the new deal still are unavailable.
Lee, 29, has been out-punting his contract for several years now. In 2007 he was a restricted free agent who signed an offer sheet on a six-year deal from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 49ers matched that offer to retain Lee, and he has been in the middle of the pack among punters when it comes to salary ever since.
Lee is due to earn a base salary of $1 million this year, the final year of his current contract. By contrast, the Raiders' Shane Lechler's base salary will be $3.8 million. Lee's new deal is expected to be comparable to Lechler's
As York hinted, Lee was one of five All-Pros last year and he also was voted to his third Pro Bowl. During the 2011 season he set an NFL record with a net average of 44 yards a punt, and was part of a 49ers' special teams that was the best in the league.
Of the team's other All-Pros, Patrick Willis' contract expires after the 2016 season while those of Justin Smith, NaVorro Bowman and David Akers expire after the 2013 season. Bowman, of course, has out-performed his current deal. However, his extension promises to be a thorny one considering the 49ers will be hesitant to pay him more than Willis.
-- Matt Barrows