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News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

February 21, 2013
Combine Day 1: What lies ahead for 49ers' free agents?

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Here are some notes, observations from Day 1 at the scouting combine. The players available for interviews today were offensive linemen, tight ends, kickers and punters.

Of that group, kicker and tight end stand out as far as possible 49ers draft targets, especially if Delanie Walker decides to test the free-agent market. Walker never would be anything more than a No. 2 tight end in San Francisco but could be seen as a No. 1 by other teams. Meanwhile, this is a good year for tight ends, with two Stanford products, Zack Ertz and Levin Toilolo available. Ertz generally is considered a better prospect than another Stanford product, Coby Fleener, who was taken No. 34 overall by Indianapolis last year.

* GM Trent Baalke was non-committal about every topic Thursday (he declined to stay whether the sky was blue, went off the record when asked if the ocean is deep) including using the franchise tag. Jim Harbaugh said earlier this month that safety Dashon Goldson deserved a long-term deal. Baalke, meanwhile, didn't rule out using the franchise tag.

"Whether we use the tag or not, I really don't know at this point," he said. Later, he said, "You can't pay everybody, and you certainly can't pay everybody if you're overpaying others." The 49ers will meet this week with the representatives of every pending free agent, including Goldson's agent, Ben Dogra.

* Will the 49ers re-sign Randy Moss? The 49ers and Moss' agent also will talk this week in Indianapolis. At the Super Bowl, Moss said he wasn't happy with how he was utilized -- 28 catches in the regular season -- this year. Then again, what other team needs Moss like the 49ers? They have no clear-cut starter opposite Michael Crabtree, and Baalke followed Jim Harbaugh's lead by heaping praise on the veteran wideout.

"Randy's a pro," he said. "I can't say enough good things about Randy. And I think if you ask anyone in our organization they would say the same thing. One of the first guys to work every day, one of the last to leave. A guy that takes great care of his body, that is probably one of the smartest football players if not the smartest football player I've been around. He grasped the offense very quickly and was one of the leaders in that room. So we're certainly happy that he was there. Is he going to return this year? I don't know that yet."

It's quite possible that this dilemma isn't solved until after the draft when the 49ers really can assess whether they need Moss or not.

* Both of the team's nose tackles, Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois, are pending free agents. Jean Francois, who is five years younger, is more likely to hit the open market and sign elsewhere. Look for the team to strike a reasonable deal with Sopoaga, whose play improved at the end of the season.

* Look for the 49ers to sign restricted free agent cornerback Tramaine Brock at the lowest tender level, $1.323 million. Brock went undrafted in 2010. That means the 49ers would not be compensated with a draft pick if he signed elsewhere. However, they would get a chance to match the deal (and could get a compensatory draft pick next year). It also means that Brock will be an unrestricted free agent in 2014.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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