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Before anybody talks about draft needs, it’s far more accurate to discuss “offseason needs.”
The 49ers have exclusive negotiating rights until March 8 with each of their scheduled free agents. The draft is a full two months later.
So we can talk all about draft needs right now, but things will change in the 3 ½ months before the draft gets going.
[RELATED: 49ers offseason injury updates]
Typically, free agents who make it through the final season of their contract will at least test the open market. The risk of injury is no longer a leverage point for teams interested in signing players to contract extensions under market value.
Two notable scheduled free agents who are most likely to re-sign with the 49ers before the start of free agency are wide receiver Anquan Boldin and kicker Phil Dawson.
Last week, Boldin wrote on his verified Twitter account:
“Thank you @49ers fans for embracing my family and I during our first year in San Francisco. Your support this year was amazing.”
Boldin wants to return. Now, it’s a matter of working out a deal that works for both sides. Boldin made $6 million last season from the 49ers after he was dealt from the Baltimore Ravens in a trade.
Dawson made $2.355 million after signing a one-year deal with the 49ers. He turned 39 last week. It’s unlikely he will receive much of a raise at his age, despite setting a team record with 27 consecutive made field goals.
Safety Donte Whitner and cornerback Tarell Brown are expected to test the open market. Typically, the 49ers have not moved off of their price to keep pace with what other teams are willing to offer.
Center Jonathan Goodwin wants to continue his career. But the 49ers are expected to give opportunities to younger, less-expensive players, such as Daniel Kilgore and Joe Looney, to earn a starting role.
A source told CSNBayArea.com that it’s unlikely the 49ers will tender their restricted free agents, defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs or cornerback Perrish Cox. Last year, the right-of-first-refusal tender was $1.323 million. That’s too high for both players, but the 49ers could be interested in bringing back both players on minimum deals in free agency.
Here’s a list of the 49ers who are scheduled for free agency:
WR Anquan Boldin
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
CB Perrish Cox
DL Demarcus Dobbs
LB Michael Wilhoite