Harbaugh: 'It's the sad, tough nature of the business'

Harbaugh: 'It's the sad, tough nature of the business'
March 17, 2013, 5:45 pm
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The 49ers have lost two starters in free agency, as well as two key backups. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

PHOENIX -- The first days of free agency saw the 49ers lose key contributors off last season's Super Bowl team.

Safety Dashon Goldson, tight end Delanie Walker, and nose tackles Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois are no longer members of the 49ers organization after leaving as free agents. Quarterback Alex Smith was dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Thus far, the 49ers have added defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, safety Craig Dahl and special-teamer Dan Skuta, as well as wide receiver Anquan Boldin in a trade.

[RELATED: Dahl's deal keeps other options open]

When asked for his thoughts on the first week of the new league year, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh answered, "Some good . . . some guys not with us any more that we'd sure like to have still with us. But that's the nature of the business process going on."

He added, "It's the sad, tough nature of the business."

Harbaugh is among the contingent of 49ers representatives who arrived Sunday at the Arizona Biltmore for the NFL Annual Meeting.

Earlier in the day, he was hanging out poolside with older brother John, coach of the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens. In the afternoon, he took part in a meeting of NFL coaches. Decision-makers for every NFL team arrived, as the offseason continues moving at a slower pace than in the first few days of free agency.

The 49ers have lost two starters in free agency, as well as two key backups. It's possible the team has already found the replacements for starters Goldson and Sopoaga, Harbaugh said.

Dorsey, who signed a two-year, $6 million contract, is slated to compete at nose tackle, as well as wherever else he might be needed along the defensive line. Dorsey showed his versatility in five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, but was never lined up at the nose on a full-time basis.

"We can see him and Ian (Williams) both taking snaps at the nose," Harbaugh said. "That'll be a good healthy competition there. And also Glenn can play some end, too. He's versatile in that regard."

The 49ers signed Williams, a seldom-used two-year veteran, to a two-year contract extension through 2015. The 49ers are expected to bring in more defensive linemen to serve as part of a rotation, along with Justin Smith and Ray McDonald.

"I think that's the way Jim Tomsula and Vic (Fangio) have always done it," said Harbaugh, referring to the 49ers' defensive line coach and defensive coordinators. "Guys who can play nose and play end, (you) saw that with some of the guys we've had in the past."

On Saturday, the 49ers signed Dahl to a three-year, $5 million contract as a possible replacement for Goldson, whose new deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers averaged $8.25 million annually. The 49ers disputed a CSN Bay Area report from last week that a formal contract offer was never presented to Goldson.

When asked if Dahl is envisioned as a starter, Harbaugh answered, "Certainly think he has the license and ability to be a starter, yes."

The 49ers visited with free agent safety Charles Woodson last week. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who met with 49ers officials, visited the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Do those players remain on the 49ers' radar?

"As far as anybody that we haven't signed or isn't a 49er, I'd rather not speculate on the many possibilities that are out there," Harbaugh said. "We look at all avenues, all possibilities, and free agency is one of those avenues."

Thus far on paper, the 49ers' additions have not matched up to the losses. Harbaugh said the goal is be improved at each of those positions.

"That's certainly strive to do that (improve)," Harbaugh said. "Can you? Will you? That's the task at hand."

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