49ers Blog and Q&A

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

March 9, 2013
Jean Francois popular as free-agency window opens

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Five teams have called to ask about Ricky Jean Francois, the 49ers' defensive lineman who is scheduled to become a free agent on Tuesday. Jean Francois' agent, Thomas Kleine, declined to say which teams have inquired, but he said they represent teams that run both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses.

He said the 49ers still are interested in re-signing the 26-year-old lineman and that they called at 1:30 a.m. (EDT) to gauge the competition for Jean Francois. The NFL this year is a allowing a 72-hour window in which teams can contact the agents of pending unrestricted free agents like Jean Francois. That window opened at midnight eastern today.

Jean Francois (6-3, 295) can begin visiting teams on Tuesday. He mostly played nose tackle at the beginning of the 2012 season but started two games at right defensive end in San Francisco's 3-4 scheme after Justin Smith suffered a torn triceps Dec. 16. He can play any defensive line position in a 3-4 scheme and presumably is being eyed as a defensive tackle by some 4-3 teams.

The 49ers likely would make an effort to re-sign Isaac Sopoaga, who also is a pending free agent, if they lost Jean Francois. The team also has several younger players, including Ian Williams, Lamar Divens and Tony Jerod-Eddie who can play the position but who have little game-day experience.

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The 49ers have not tendered safety Darcel McBath, who is a restricted free agent. If there's no tender by Tuesday, McBath will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. The 49ers likely figure that with a glut of free agents and a strong draft class at the position, McBath will be available if they need him.

Meanwhile, the Falcons re-signed William Moore, who would have ben one of the top safeties on the market, to a five-year deal worth about $6 million a year, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The 49ers' starter at free safety, Dashon Goldson, has been seeking a deal that averages closer to $8 million a year. He is scheduled to become a free agent Tuesday and will be the top name on the market at the position.

-- 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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