49ers place original round tender on Grant

March 9, 2012, 4:37 pm
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Any team that envisions inside linebacker Larry Grant as a starter must give up only a seventh-round draft pick as compensation to the 49ers to acquire the restricted free agent.
The 49ers have decided to place an original-round tender of approximately 1.26 million on Grant, a source told CSNBayArea.com. That move would appear to increase the chance of another team signing Grant to an offer sheet.
If Grant signs an offer sheet and the 49ers decline to match, the 49ers would receive a seventh-round draft pick as compensation. Grant, 27, entered the NFL as a seventh-round pick of the 49ers in 2008.Teams can begin negotiating with Grant on Tuesday, 1 p.m. (PT), when the free-agent signing period begins.If Grant signs an offer sheet with another team, the 49ers would have the right of first refusal. But the club is not likely to match any offer that includes "starter's money." Grant may have proved in December that he is fully capable of being an effective starting inside linebacker, as he filled in admirable for four games when Patrick Willis was injured.RELATED: Larry Grant 2011 game logs
The 49ers' other option was to place a second-round tender of 1.92 million on Grant. But the 49ers decided it was too much to pay for a backup behind first-team All-Pros Willis and NaVorro Bowman. Grant earned 600,000 contract last season on a one-year contract. Bowman, a third-year pro, is scheduled to earn 490,000 this season.Originally, the 49ers released Grant after his first training camp with the club in 2008. The St. Louis Rams signed him off the 49ers practice squad. He played 34 games in three seasons, including eight starts in 2010, with St. Louis before returning to the 49ers last season.While playing four games in place of Willis in December, Grant recorded 29 tackles, two sacks, broke up five passes and forced a fumble. Willis sustained a hamstring injury early in the 49ers' Dec. 4 game against the Rams and sat out three additional games. Willis returned for the regular-season finale and both playoff games.Grant was also one of the 49ers' top special-teams players throughout the season with 10 tackles.CSN's Mindi Bach contributed to this report.

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