FOXBORO, Mass. -- When things got difficult for the 49ers on Sunday night, one of their leaders was on the sideline with an injury.
Justin Smith, whose 188 consecutive games played is the longest-active streak in the NFL among defensive tackles, sustained a left arm injury and was unavailable for much of the fourth quarter. The New England Patriots rallied from a 28-point third-quarter deficit to tie the game.
After the 49ers reclaimed the lead, Smith's replacement, Ricky Jean Francois, provided one of the big plays with a third-down sack of New England quarterback Tom Brady with 5:05 remaining to help the 49ers preserve a 41-34 victory at Gillette Stadium.
Jean Francois' sack, on which he beat Patriots left tackle Nate Solder, came one play after Ray McDonald dropped Brady for his second sack of the game.
"It's next man up," Smith said. "Ricky is a heck of a player and he came in and made a heck of a play. It was a huge play, a big turning point in the game."
Smith said he is scheduled to undergo an MRI examination on Monday back in the Bay Area. The 49ers announced Smith's condition as an elbow injury. He tried to return after getting his arm wrapped, but was unable to remain in the game.
"I'll see on the MRI, and we'll go from there," Smith said. "I'll do anything I can to play."
PHOENIX – Free-agent running back DuJuan Harris will re-sign with the 49ers, his agent said.
Harris, 28, appeared in 10 games for the 49ers last season with one start. He rushed for 138 yards on 38 attempts. He also caught eight passes for 115 yards.
Harris has also seen time with Jacksonville, Green Bay and Seattle in his four-year NFL career.
The 49ers did not tender Harris as a restricted free agent, but agent Andy Simms revealed his client will re-sign with the 49ers via Twitter. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and defensive lineman Chris Jones are the only other free agents the 49ers have re-signed.
PHOENIX – Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will continue to be Washington’s quarterback for the 2017 season, according to team president Bruce Allen.
“That’s why we franchised him, yes,” Allen said during an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic at the NFL owners meetings.
Cousins and Washington did not reach agreement on a multi-year contract extension before the start of the free-agent signing period. Washington tagged Cousins as the organization’s exclusive franchise player, taking him off the free-agent market for any interested clubs, such as the 49ers.
Cousins is set to earn $23.94 million in 2017, unless the sides agree to a new deal before the July 15 deadline. The price for Cousins to be franchised again in 2018 would be $34.47 million.
"We’ve had a lot of dialogue," Allen said. "He signed his tender. Obviously, we have an option for the ’18 season. Our goal from the beginning has been long term. I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."
The 49ers with new coach Kyle Shanahan are expected to be interested in Cousins, but there have no trade talks with any teams, Allen said. Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator under his father, then-head coach Mike Shanahan, for Cousins' first two NFL seasons.
"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."