49ers poised to put franchise tag on Aubrayo Franklin

Monday, February 15, 2010 by: Online Sportsbook

Barring a breakthrough in negotiations, the 49ers will use the franchise-tag designation on defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin, according to a report Monday.

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, citing league sources, said the 49ers are poised to use the tag on Franklin if no multiyear agreement is in place by the Feb. 25 deadline for the franchise designation. The price tag for franchised defensive tackles is $7 million for 2010.

Franklin has long appeared headed for franchise-tag status. He acknowledged the possibility as he packed his belongings after a season-ending victory against the St. Louis Rams.

"I'd like to be back here, but me and my agent are going to sit down and talk and look at the possibilities of the franchise tag,'' Franklin said. "We'll figure out the possibilities. "... I enjoy playing with these guys, and I feel like we have a really good defense."

Franklin, 29, is coming off his finest season since signing as an unrestricted free agent from Baltimore in 2007. A stalwart against the run, Franklin helped the 49ers finish sixth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.

More important to his teammates is Franklin's willingness to do the dirty work. The 6-foot-1, 317-pound lineman eats up blockers, which allows linebackers such as Patrick Willis to roam free. Willis campaigned hard for the 49ers to find a way to secure Franklin's return for 2010.

"I pray to God that they keep Aubrayo,''

Willis said. "The coaches already know where my heart is. I say he's the best nose in the game.

"People say, 'Man, Pat, you make a lot of plays.' But I make a lot of plays because of those three guys up front, especially Aubrayo."

It's possible the 49ers will continue to work on a long-term contract for Franklin until the Feb. 25 deadline. But a source told Schefter that it's doubtful any such deal could be struck.

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