Teams can start using the franchise tag today, and the 49ers seem to have two candidates for the designation. The first is safety Dashon Goldson, who was one of 21 players around the league to get the tag a year ago. Twelve of those players later received multi-year deals. Goldson did not.
According to Yahoo Sports' Brian McIntyre - he lists the tag amounts here - safety is one of the more affordable positions, with a $6.8 million "non-exclusive" franchise tag. Because Goldson was tagged last year, however, his amount is 120 percent of the 2012 tag number for safeties or $7.45 million.
Goldson has said he'd rather get a long-term deal elsewhere than play under the franchise tag again. Jim Harbaugh, meanwhile, said the team's starting free safety deserved a multi-year contract. Said Harbaugh: "He's somebody that I think you reward. Plays every game, can find the ball. You know that he's out there. The opposing offense knows that he's out there. ... He just does everything you want a safety to do. And you reward those types of people."
The two sides, however, have been negotiating a long-term contract for two years and have not been close on a deal.
At $5.97 million, another relatively cheap franchise tag belongs to tight ends. Only punters and kickers - $2.92 million - have a cheaper amount. Would the 49ers use the tag on a No. 2 tight end in Delanie Walker? Walker is an integral part of their offense, is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league and played very well in the Super Bowl. He'll always be second fiddle to Vernon Davis in San Francisco but could be viewed as a No. 1 on the free-agent market.
The 49ers have until March 4 to apply the tag, and negotiations involving soon-to-be free agents like Goldson, Walker, Randy Moss, Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois will take on a bit more urgency as teams and agents meet in Indianapolis this week.
As for Jean Francois, he sent out this text late last night: "Man.. Just looking back over the 4 years here in TheÂ #BayAreaÂ it has been fun. Hope it can be for my career. Hint Hint Hint... Lol âœˆ "
-- Matt Barrows