San Francisco 49ers

49ers free-agency tracker: 49ers looking at guard, running back

Seattle Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy (64) during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 in Glendale, Ariz.
Seattle Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy (64) during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 in Glendale, Ariz. AP

SANTA CLARA -- Though no free agents can be signed until 1 p.m. Wednesday, teams were permitted to begin discussing would-be free agents at 9 a.m. Monday. Here’s the up-to-date scuttlebutt involving the 49ers:

3/9: ESPN reported that the Minnesota Vikings would sign 49ers guard Alex Boone when the league year begins at 1 p.m. After Boone and the 49ers failed to come up with a contract extension in 2014, it became clear he would move on in free agency. He and the 49ers have had only cursory discussions since. In Minnesoate, Boone will work under offensive line coach Tony Sparano, who was the 49ers’ tight ends coach last year.

3/9: The 49ers reached agreement on a five-year contract extension with nose tackle Ian Williams. He was set to become a free agent at 1 p.m today. The team’s starting defensive line for the beginning on 2016 appears to be Arik Armstead, Williams and Quinton Dial.

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3/8: The 49ers signed linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong to a one-year contract extension. Armstrong, 25, is expected to compete with Michael Wilhoite, Gerald Hodges, Shayne Skov, Nick Bellore and perhaps others for the starting inside linebacker spot next to NaVorro Bowman. Armstrong was scheduled to be a restricted free agent. Terms of his deal were not announced, but it’s likely less than the $1.67 million tender for restricted free agents

3/8: As reported last week, the 49ers are among the teams showing interest in Tampa Bay free agent running back Doug Martin. However, it appears other teams are pursuing Martin more intensely than San Francisco. Martin was born in Oakland and grew up in Stockton. ***UPDATE*** The Tampa Bay Times reported late Tuesday that the Buccaneers were closing in on a deal to retain Martin for approximately $6.85 million a year.

3/8: The 49ers have placed the lowest-level tender, $1.671 million, on linebacker Michael Wilhoite, his agent said. That allows the 49ers to match any offer Wilhoite receives in free agency but they would receive no draft compensation if he is allowed to sign elsewhere. The 49ers also have tendered exclusive rights free agent Jordan Devey, a guard. If Devey makes the squad he would earn the league minimum, $600,000.

The 49ers have not tendered another restricted free agent, defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie. They are believed to have offered him a longer-term deal instead. Jerod-Eddie will test the market and assess his worth -- in fact, his agent probably is doing so now -- before signing the deal. The 49ers have little depth along the defensive line heading into the offseason.

3/8: The NFL Network reported that the Raiders this week would sign perhaps the biggest fish in the free-agent market, offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, to a deal on Wednesday. The 49ers were believed to have some interest in Osemele, but not at the price for which he ultimately will be signed, which reportedly will be for $11 million a year.

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3/7: Seahawks free-agent guard J.R. Sweezy is garnering a lot of interest, and according to a league source, the 49ers are among the teams in the mix. They are expected to keep tabs on all of the top guards in the market, perhaps bailing to the next one on their list -- and so on, and so forth -- if the price grows too steep. Sweezy, of course, is familiar to them from the trench warfare they've undergone with the Seahawks over the years. Team officials may appreciate Sweezy’s feistiness, although nose tackle Ian Williams, who is a free agent himself, probably isn't as keen on his style. After all, Sweezy broke Williams' ankle with a cut block three years ago.

3/7: As noted last week, the 49ers are expected to be in the market for cornerback Sean Smith. At 6-3, he’d be the biggest member of the secondary -- Chip Kelly has gone after big corners in the past -- and would presumably start opposite Tramaine Brock.

3/7: Radio host John Middlekauf wrote that the 49ers and Chiefs -- no stranger to trade deals -- have discussed a deal for Chiefs WR De'Anthony Thomas. Chip Kelly obviously is familiar witth Thomas having coached him at Oregon. Thomas is 5-9 and theoretically could fill the quasi-WR/RB role Darren Sproles had last year with the Eagles.

After finishing with a 5-11 record in 2015, the 49ers need to fill numerous holes to improve the team. But while many teams will be aggressive to sign free agents, the 49ers will be cautious in how they spend their money. Bee staff writer Matt Bar

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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