Baalke prefers not to use franchise tag

Baalke prefers not to use franchise tag
February 23, 2012, 3:39 pm
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Programming note: Stay logged on to CSNBayArea.com all week long as 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco files reports from the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS -- The process of trying to re-sign players is underway, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said Thursday morning at the NFL scouting combine.Quarterback Alex Smith, safety Dashon Goldson, cornerback Carlos Rogers and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks are among the team's top scheduled unrestricted free agents.
The club is aiming to sign those players before the start of the free-agent signing period, March 13. But, thus far, nothing has been agreed upon."There are certain things we're working on and you want to accomplish," Baalke said. "We're working toward that goal. Will it happen? That remains to be seen."Fresh off 17 days of draft meetings with the team's scouting department, Baalke arrived at the NFL scouting combine intent on taking a methodical approach to the team's offseason."We feel confident we'll be able to get some things done with our unrestricted free agents, but you never know," Baalke said.The 49ers have the option to use the franchise tag to control the rights to one of their free agents. The most likely candidate appears to be Goldson, who could be retained on a one-year, 6.2 million deal. First, the 49ers will try to work out a long-term extension. The sides are not close to a deal, a source told CSNBayArea.com.
"I don't know that that's been determined, yet," Baalke answered when asked if the 49ers would use the franchise tag."That's a possibility. We'd prefer not to use it, but we're not opposed to using it. So there are positives and negatives any time you use those tags. And we'll look at all of our options, like we always do, and be methodical in our process, like we always are."I look at it like a marathon, not a sprint. We'll look at every option available to us, whether it's players on our team or not on our team." Baalke declined to comment on the status of veteran cornerback Shawntae Spencer, whom the club has given permission to seek a trade, sources told CSNBayArea.com. Spencer is scheduled to make 3.3 million in 2012, and will likely be released if he's not traded.

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