Potential free-agent WRs -- who's going where?

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Potential free-agent WRs -- who's going where?

The deadline for each NFL team to declare its franchise player is Monday, at which point the focus will sharpen on the free-agent options for the 49ers at wide receiver.The free-agent signing period begins eight days later on Tuesday, March 13, at 1 p.m.Here is a rundown of some of the top wide receivers who remain unsigned for the 2012 season:Joshua Morgan, 49ers: There was some buzz about Morgan at the combine. If the 49ers do not sign him before March 13, several teams are expected to be interested. Jacksonville could be one of those teams. Jerry Sullivan is the new Jaguars receivers coach. He coached Morgan during his first three seasons with the 49ers. A source close to Morgan told CSNBayArea.com that "nothing is cooking" right now toward a new deal with the 49ers, but that can change in a hurry. He continues to show up nearly every day at the 49ers' practice facility to work out and rehab from his season-ending leg injury. He is on pace to take part in offseason practices without any restrictions.Ted Ginn, 49ers: He took a 1.2 million pay cut to remain with the 49ers for the 2011 season. In return, the 49ers tore up the final year of his contract to make him a free agent in 2012. It would seem that Ginn would at least take advantage of the opportunity to test the free-agent market.Vincent Jackson, San Diego: Of the big-time potential free agents, he might be the most likely to reach the open market. He caught just 60 passes last season, but he averaged 18.4 yards per reception and scored nine TDs. The Washington Post reports the Redskins plan to add a high-profile receiver, so they could drive up the price.Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh: There are reports the Steelers will not place the franchise tag (9.4 million) on the restricted free agent. Instead, they'll slap him with a first-round tender (2.7 million). Any team interested in signing Wallace to an offer sheet must be prepared to fork over a first-round pick to the Steelers as compensation. The 49ers pick No. 30 overall, so that price does not seem exorbitant. However, the contract it will take to sign Wallace could get pricey. The Steelers are in bad shape on the salary cap. So if a team puts a high first-year cap figure into Wallace's deal, there's little chance the Steelers would be able to match.Marques Colston, New Orleans: The Saints have two other players who appear to be in line for the franchise tag ahead of Colston: quarterback Drew Brees and guard Carl Nicks. That means Colston will likely be on the open market when free agency begins. He turns 29 in June, and last season he caught 80 passes for 1,143 yards (14.3 average) with eight touchdowns.Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City: With the Chiefs' recent signing of cornerback Stanford Routt, whom the Raiders released, it seems apparent Kansas City will not place the franchise tag on Brandon Carr. So Bowe is unlikely to hit the open market. The Chiefs are expected to franchise him.Wes Welker, New England: The Patriots are reportedly "likely" to use their franchise tag on him while the sides continue to work toward a long-term deal.Stevie Johnson, Buffalo: The Bills will not use their franchise tag on Johnson, the Buffalo News reports. Negotiations are ongoing, but at last report there was considerable distance between the sides. Johnson (6-2, 210) turns 26 in July. He caught 76 passes for 1,004 yards and seven TDs last season.DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia: There are multiple reports that the Eagles will use their franchise tag to restrict Jackson while also keeping their minds open to any trade possibilities. UPDATE: The Eagles announced Thursday that they had, in fact, made Jackson their franchie player.
Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis: He recently rejected a five-year contract offer from the Colts, ESPN reported. One report placed the dollar figure at 7 million annually. Reportedly, the Colts hope to re-sign Garcon or defensive end Robert Mathis and use the franchise tag on the other player.Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis: If Peyton Manning is able to play football in 2012, might he be teaming up again with Wayne? That would seem to make sense as the best place for Wayne, 33, who caught 75 passes for 960 yards last season without Manning.Mario Manningham, New York Giants: It looks as if he'll be hitting the open market. But Manningham disputes speculation that it's a slam dunk he'll be following former Giants assistant Mike Sullivan to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he got hired as offensive coordinator.Brandon Lloyd, St. Louis: He's talking to the Rams about re-signing, but it's also logical that he'd follow Josh McDaniels to the New England Patriots.Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Jets: The 49ers made a run at him last season. While en route to the Bay Area, Burress agreed to sign with the Jets. The 49ers signed Braylon Edwards to a low-risk contract, instead. Burress caught 45 passes for 612 yards and eight TDs for the Jets.

49ers extend one-year qualifying offers to Purcell, Bradford

49ers extend one-year qualifying offers to Purcell, Bradford

The 49ers on Monday extended one-year qualifying offers to nose tackle Mike Purcell and linebacker Carl Bradford as exclusive-rights free agents.

Purcell appeared in 15 games last season. He started the first five games of the season at nose tackle and was a reserve for the remainder of the season. Originally signed in 2013 as an undrafted rookie from Wyoming, Purcell has appeared in 25 games over the past three seasons.

The 49ers claimed Bradford off waivers in December from the Green Bay Packers. He appeared in the final two games of the season with the 49ers and was credited with two tackles.

Bradford entered the NFL out of Arizona State as a fourth-round pick of the Packers in 2014. After being inactive for every game as a rookie, Bradford was among Green Bay’s final cuts in 2015. He spent the season on the practice squad.

He appeared in four games for the Packers last year. The 49ers claimed him after he was waived in December.

Exclusive rights free agents are player who have fewer than three years of NFL service who have no outside negotiating power if a team extends a qualifying offer.

Mailbag: Which 49ers vets are on shaky ground?

Mailbag: Which 49ers vets are on shaky ground?

The 49ers’ new regime heads to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week with the first major wave of offseason activity set to kick off.

Already, the 49ers have made roster improvements. And there figure to be plenty of activity ahead in the coming weeks.

Here are some questions submitted by readers on Facebook for this edition of 49ers Mailbag:

Do you see the 49ers cutting ties with larger contracts like Bethea, Torrey Smith and Ahmad Brooks?‬ (Blair Wilkins)
The 49ers have approximately $75 million in space under the salary cap – and that’s before any adjustment of Colin Kaepernick’s contract. So it’s not as if the organization needs to create cap room.

Any decision made to part ways with veteran players will be made solely on how that player fits into what the 49ers envision on the field.

And that’s what general manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff are doing now. They are studying the video from last season to determine which players fit their ideals.

Safety Antoine Bethea is scheduled to earn $5.75 million. Bethea, 32, enters the final year of his contract. There is no question he is everything the 49ers want in a player off the field. If one of the younger guys is not better than Bethea, there is no reason to get rid of him.

Brooks is on the books to earn $5.3 million in 2017. That’s not a huge amount for a starting outside linebacker or defensive end – whichever spot he might fit best. The 49ers must look to upgrade their pass rush. Brooks turns 33 next month. He’s good for six sacks a season. Again, it’s not as if the 49ers can’t afford him. And, as of now, it’s not as if the 49ers have anyone better.

Smith is scheduled to earn $8 million. He has been vastly underutilized in his two seasons since signing with the 49ers. He’s the most interesting case of the high-priced veterans.

Kyle Shanahan’s offense is predicated on using the running game to set up the play-action shot down the field. Smith is limited. He’s not a possession receiver. He’s not going to make plays over the middle. He is an outside receiver whose contributions come in the vertical passing game. But that’s what Shanahan wants.

If Smith is paired with a strong tight end, a running back who catch the ball out of the backfield, a slot receiver with short-area quickness to get open underneath, a very good receiver on the other side and an accurate quarterback who can throw the deep ball, there should be a role for Smith in the 49ers’ offense.

Will the 49ers continue to be aggressive pursuing free agents this offseason? If so, what positions?‬ (Bradley Lodge)
The 49ers have zeroed in on two veteran free agents and they signed them both.

The organization has already spent more money than it did all of last offseason on veteran free agency with the four-year, $16 million deal to sign defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, whom the Miami Dolphins recently released.

Nickel back K’Waun Williams has a history with 49ers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley. The 49ers did not have to make much of a financial investment to sign him.

The 49ers will definitely go after a veteran quarterback or two in free agency or via trade. Pass rusher, inside linebacker and wide receiver are other positions the 49ers can be expected to look during free agency.

The opening of the new league year – when free-agent signings and trades can occur – is March 9. The draft is seven weeks later.

The 49ers must fill as many of their needs with smart deals that fit into the long-term plan with veteran acquisitions. Then, the draft is about taking the best players on their board when it’s time to select. Teams that reach for need generally strike out.

What are the chances of drafting a QB with first pick and playing them behind a Kap / Cousins until they're ready to become starter?‬ (Hillory Broussard)
If Colin Kaepernick returns, it will not be as a no-questions-asked starter. Just read what Lynch said on KNBR this week about the team’s needs:

“Do we have some places – probably the ultimate position, quarterback – where we need to improve? Absolutely. And we’re committed to doing that.”

That statement can easily be interpreted that Lynch does not believe the 49ers had a starting-caliber quarterback on the roster last season.

But if the 49ers were to go out and swing a trade for Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s going to take a big commitment – in terms of draft picks and a suitable new contract. Then, the 49ers would have that player.

Cousins or Garoppolo would unquestionably fill the 49ers’ need at quarterback for 2017 and beyond -- at least in the minds of the 49ers' new decision-makers. There would be no reason for the 49ers to then draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick – if the 49ers even had the No. 2 overall pick at that point.