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  • Charles Woodson: The former Raiders and Packers defensive back, a 15-year veteran, will visit today with the 49ers.

  • Delanie Walker: The tight end, wanting a chance to start, gets a four-year, $17.5 million contract with the Titans.

  • Dashon Goldson: The safety, seeking a long-term deal, is expected to receive a hefty offer from the Buccaneers.

49ers lose Walker, Sopoaga in free agency

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 - 6:55 pm

SANTA CLARA – The Tennessee Titans wrapped up tight end Delanie Walker with a four-year deal mere hours after free agency began Tuesday. The Philadelphia Eagles pounced on nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers flew a private plane to California to pick up safety Dashon Goldson. And the 2-week-old trade sending quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs finally was announced as official.

When the new NFL year started at 1 p.m., all roads seemed to be leading out of San Francisco.

That's typical.

Players who appear in a Super Bowl tend to be popular the following offseason, a rule that even applied to some 49ers backups.

Defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, for example, will visit the Eagles even though they agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with Sopoaga, who will play nose tackle in their 3-4 defense. Last month, Philadelphia hired former 49ers player personnel director Tom Gamble, who is very familiar with both players.

Goldson also is likely headed elsewhere.

After feeling snubbed by a 49ers team reluctant to give him the long-term deal he wanted, Goldson is expected to receive a big offer from the Buccaneers. If he doesn't, he has more suitors, including the Detroit Lions and Eagles.

That has the 49ers looking at alternatives, including former Raider and Green Bay Packer Charles Woodson and New York Jets free agent LaRon Landry. Woodson will visit the 49ers today, his agent said.

The 2009 Defensive Player of the Year, Woodson has a couple of significant connections on the 49ers. A University of Michigan product, he's hosted an annual golf tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich., with another former Wolverine, Jim Harbaugh. He's also close to 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers.

The 15-year veteran will turn 37 in October, and he missed half the 2012 season because of a broken collarbone. Still, he played well at safety in the games in which he appeared. He had five tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble in a Week 1 loss to the 49ers.

For his career – he has played mostly cornerback – Woodson has 55 interceptions, 11 of which he's returned for touchdowns.

Landry, 28, is similar to Goldson in that he is aggressive and has a reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the league. In 2012, the former first-round pick had 100 tackles, four forced fumbles and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He also was voted to his first Pro Bowl.

In response to losing Sopoaga and perhaps Jean Francois, the 49ers will host Glenn Dorsey today, his agent said.

Dorsey, 27, was the fifth overall pick in the 2008 draft by Kansas City. He sat out most of last season because of a calf injury but missed only two games in his previous four years with the Chiefs.

The 49ers are eyeing the 6-foot-1, 297-pound Dorsey as a nose tackle, but only if the price is right. They don't put as much value on that position as other teams because the nose tackle comes off the field in passing situations to make room for the nickel cornerback.

San Francisco signed one of its own young players, Ian Williams, to a two-year extension Monday, ostensibly to be the backup at the position.

The 49ers also could use a kicker, a backup quarterback and a versatile No. 2 tight end after losing Walker, who saw an uptick in productivity after Colin Kaepernick took over at quarterback for Smith. Walker signed a four-year, $17.5 million deal with Tennessee.

Appearing on 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area, Walker said the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and Eagles also showed interest and added the 49ers hoped to re-sign him. But he said he knew he never could be the top tight end on a team that had Vernon Davis.

"I felt like it was my time to be a starter," he said.

The Buccaneers, where Goldson could land, and the Titans are on the 49ers' 2013 schedule.

"That was the first game I saw," Walker said with a laugh. "Every other game was blurred."

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320. Follow him on Twitter @mattbarrows.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Matthew Barrows



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