YSTL: Will 49ers add a deep threat? Which free agents will be back?
Michael Wilhoite started two games last season when Patrick Willis was out with a groin injury. (USATI)
Perrish Cox appeared in 25 regular season games for the 49ers over the last two seasons. (USATI)
In addition to their scheduled unrestricted free agents, the 49ers have four other players whose contracts are set to expire next week.
Linebacker Michael Wilhoite will definitely be retained as an exclusive-rights free agent, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke confirmed at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Wilhoite started two games last season when Patrick Willis was out with a groin injury. And he is expected to be among the first in line to fill in for NaVorro Bowman, who could miss half of the season as he recovers from a significant knee injury.
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But the futures of three restricted free agents is less certain. The 49ers are not expected to retain the right of first refusal with $1.431 million tenders for defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs, cornerback Perrish Cox or fullback Will Tukuafu due to the price tag. Several league sources said at the NFL Scouting Combine that it is unlikely many non-starting players around the league will be tendered as restricted free agents due to the high price.
However, each player still could return to the 49ers for less money as unrestricted free agents.
Clubs are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with the agents of players who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. No contracts can be signed until March 11 at 1 p.m. (PT).
Here’s a look at the 49ers players who remain unsigned for 2014:
S Donte Whitner
CB Tarell Brown
OL Jonathan Goodwin
K Phil Dawson
WR Mario Manningham
QB Colt McCoy
WR Kassim Osgood
CB Eric Wright
RB Anthony Dixon
DL Demarcus Dobbs
CB Perrish Cox
FB Will Tukuafu
LB Michael Wilhoite