Today is the first day the 49ers and the 31 other NFL teams can use the franchise tag to retain one of their unrestricted free agents. The 49ers are expected to do so with nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin. The designation would pay Franklin $7.003 million for the 2010 season, and he would become an unrestricted free agent again next year. The 49ers can apply the tag between now and Feb. 25.
Franklin was part of the 49ers' free-agent class in 2007 that also brought cornerback Nate Clements and safety Michael Lewis. Franklin began to attract praise at the midpoint of the 2008 season when the 49ers moved to a more basic style of defense than the constantly-changing scheme they ran under Mike Nolan. This year he was frequently cited by Pro Bowlers Patrick Willis and Justin Smith as being a key cog in the team's defense.
Franchise players receive either the average of the top five players at their position - in Franklin's case, defensive tackle - or 120 percent of their previous salary, whichever is greater. If another team signs a franchise player to an offer sheet, the player's original team can match that offer. If the original team does not match the offer for a non-exclusive franchise player, that team must be compensated with two first-round picks. The last 49er to receive the franchise tag was linebacker Julian Peterson.
Here are the franchise amounts for every position:
CB: $9.566 million
The 49ers have not signed former LSU linebacker Darry Beckwith to a future contract as has been reported on other sites, including NFL.com's transaction log. Beckwith instead signed a future contract with the Chargers earlier this week.
-- Matt Barrows