UPDATE at 10:35 a.m.: The 49ers announced on their Twitter page that they have placed the non-exlusive franchise tag on Dashon Goldson.
GM Trent Baalke: "By using the franchise tag on Dashon, it affords us the opportunity to continue to work on a long-term contract with him, while also ensuring he will be a 49er for a sixth season, in 2012.
NEWS: 49ers use franchise tag on Goldson
With the value of the franchise tag down across the board, it makes more sense than ever for the 49ers to use the designation to virtually assure the return of a player scheduled for unrestricted free agency.The 49ers will use the tag this year on Dashon Goldson, who has expected to be franchised for a while, a source close to the Pro Bowl safety told CSNBayArea.com this week. ESPN reports the 49ers could make the move official on Friday.The deadline for teams to use the tag is Monday.REWIND: Maiocco -- Goldson in 49ers' top franchise target
Goldson will count 6.2 million against the 2012 salary cap on the one-year deal. The 49ers have opted to use the tag on Goldson, rather than cornerback Carlos Rogers. The one-year franchise price for a cornerback is approximately 10.6 million.
RELATED: Dashon Goldson 2011 game logs Carlos Rogers game logs
The 49ers hope to work out a long-term contract with Goldson, who recently fired agent Drew Rosenhaus and hired CAA Football.
It was never an option to tag quarterback Alex Smith. The price for a quarterback is expected to be 14.4 million. The price for a quarterback is much higher than the annual salary the 49ers plan for Smith. The 49ers and Smith's agent, Tom Condon of CAA Football, continue negotiations on a deal.RELATED: Goldson hires agency with history of 49ers deals
If the sides fail to work out the numbers by March 13, Smith would be free to speak with other teams when the free-agent signing period begins. Both sides expect the deal to get done, and for Smith to return to the 49ers.At the NFL scouting combine, the word circulating was that teams in need of a quarterback weren't even seriously considering Smith as an option because of the assumption he'll be back with coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers.Rogers, as of now, appears ticketed to free agency. Nothing is imminent on a new contract. But even if Rogers hits the open market, there remains a chance the 49ers will be able to retain him.Rogers, who turns 31 in July, earned 4.25 million last season on a one-year contract. If the 49ers are unable to re-sign Rogers before March 13, he would become a free agent. If he's does not find the kind of contract he desires, the 49ers would have a strong chance to retain him.The 49ers signed outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks this week to a six-year, 37 million extension with a 7.5 million signing bonus.