Monday, February 23, 2004

Finally, some 49ers off-season moves

The San Francisco 49ers announced two pieces of good news today: (1) Linebacker Julian Peterson will be a 49er again next year -- they were unable to negotiate a long-term contract, but they have placed an exclusive franchise tag on him. So the best 49er defensive player is under contract for one more year, at least. (2) Running back Kevan Barlow has signed a five-year contract. He would have been a restricted free agent this year, and an unrestricted one next year. The upshot:
  • Anyone still holding onto the possibility of keeping Terell Owens (or getting something by trading his contract) ought now to let go. Our franchise tag has been used, and TO's not coming back.
  • Odds are pretty good that Barlow is now the man in San Francisco, and will stop sharing time with Garrison Hearst. I'd be willing to bet that Hearst, still a great back, assuming his surgery-recovery went well, will get a starting job somewhere else. Maybe Detroit.
  • Jamal Robertson will probably get a chance to step up as the number-two running back. He's been solid so far.
  • Front office attention will likely turn now to Ahmed Plummer (unrestricted free agent) and Jeff Garcia (trying to cut pay or restructure contract).
So far it's been a dismal off-season, but the long-term deal for Barlow is definitely good news. And although I wish we had a long contract for Peterson, too, I'm definitely happy to have him (virtually) assured for next year.

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