49ers Blog and Q&A

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

February 27, 2013
Who stays? Where things stand on key 49ers

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There are nearly two weeks until the new league year begins and the free-agent market opens. That means there still is plenty of time for teams to cut deals and to cut players in advance of the March 12 commencement date. Here's where the 49ers stand with some of their players:

K David Akers. Akers stands to earn $3 million in base salary, and the 49ers are likely to part ways with the kicker who began the season tying an NFL record for longest field but who went on to have the worst season of his career. Along with trading Alex Smith and allowing Dashon Goldson the license to sign elsewhere, Akers is part of a cost-cutting effort that will enable the 49ers to sign other players. (Keep reading for those players).

CB Tramaine Brock. Look for the backup cornerback to sign the lowest free-agent tender and to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent in 2014.

S Dashon Goldson. The 49ers do not plan to use the franchise tag, according to two league sources, which means Goldson, a Pro Bowl and All-Pro safety, will get to test his worth on the open market. You'll recall that "Good Cop" Jim Harbaugh said that Goldson "deserved" a long-term contract. At the combine, "Bad Cop" Trent Baalke said, "You can't pay everybody, and you certainly can't pay everybody if you're overpaying others."

Was he talking about Goldson? That's a very good guess. It could be that the 49ers are taking the same tack with the safety they did before the 2011 season -- allowing him to get to the free-agent market and betting he doesn't get the kind of offers he is seeking. Goldson played very well this past season. Then again, the draft is deep at safety.

LB Larry Grant. He proved himself a very capable backup at inside linebacker in 2011. He didn't get much interest as an unrestricted free agent last year and could be back in the fold for the 49ers this year.

DL Ricky Jean Francois. The 49ers want to re-sign him but it appears right now as if Jean Francois will make it to the free-agency market where he'll likely get plenty of attention. He's young -- 26 -- versatile and has proven to be a hard worker. The 49ers have a cap on how much they'd be willing to pay Jean Francois. If another team outstrips it, he's gone.

QB Alex Smith. The 49ers feel confident they will trade him before Smith is owed a $1 million on March 15. The scuttlebutt from the combine was that the recompense *might* be a high fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft. The question now is whether another team comes forward with a better offer. Mmmm, the scuttlebutt was wrong. If you're interested in this item, you may want to read this:

DL Isaac Sopoaga. His status depends on what happens with Jean Francois. The 49ers' nose tackle played less than a third of the snaps last season because he came off the field in nickel defenses. In an increasingly pass-happy league, the 49ers obviously played a lot of nickel. For that reason, the 49ers are hesitant to meet Sopoaga's modest demands. However, if Jean Francois seemed poised to go elsewhere, the team likely would sweeten its offer.

TE Delanie Walker. There's been little talk about the backup tight end other than that the 49ers are unlikely to use the franchise tag -- $5.96 million -- to retain him. Whether he remains with the 49ers likely will depend on whether teams view him as a No. 1 tight end.

-- 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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