49ers sign Boldin, don't use franchise tag

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49ers sign Boldin, don't use franchise tag
March 3, 2014, 1:00 pm
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Trent Baalke and the 49ers opted against using the franchise tag and, with Anquan Boldin now signed, can focus their attention on pending free agents. (USATSI)

With the announcement of the NFL’s 2014 salary cap at $133 million per team last week, the league’s franchise and transition salaries at each position were also determined.

The 49ers did not use the franchise tag to retain any of their scheduled free agents on a one-year deal. The deadline to place the franchise tag on scheduled free agents was Monday at 1 p.m. (PT).

The 49ers worked a deal to sign wide receiver Anquan Boldin to a two-year, $12 million extension earlier in the day. By comparison, the one-year franchise tag for a wide receiver is $12.312 million.

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“We are pleased that Anquan has chosen to continue his career as a 49er,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “He is a consummate professional whose love and respect for the game provide a tremendous example for all players. Anquan has been a very productive player throughout his career and we look forward to his future contributions to our team and community.”

The 49ers own sole negotiating rights with their free agents, including safety Donte Whitner, cornerback Tarell Brown and kicker Phil Dawson, until Saturday. The first day of the free-agent signing period is March 11.

The 49ers have never used the transition tag on a player to ensure the right-of-first-refusal option. Since the league made the transition salary fully guaranteed in 2007, the transition tag has virtually disappeared as a viable option for teams. (Although the Cleveland Browns tagged center Alex Mack with the transition tag on Monday.)

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The transition tag does have significance for the 49ers this offseason.

Under the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 49ers can retain Aldon Smith for a fifth season in 2015 at the transition tag salary for linebackers of $9.754 million. Smith is bound to that number as a first-round draft pick. He was the No. 7 overall selection in the 2011 draft.

The 49ers must exercise the fifth-year option on Smith by May 3. It is considered a formality that the 49ers will exercise the option while continuing to negotiate a possible long-term extension.

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