Shocker: 49ers Will Not Use Franchise Tag on Alex Smith

By Sajid Farooq
|  Thursday, Feb 24, 2011  |  Updated 10:30 AM PDT
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The San Francisco 49ers will not use the franchise tag to retain the services of Alex Smith. But that is not news to anyone who has followed this team over the last few seasons.

What is news is that the team will not tag any of its pending free agents before Thursday's deadline, according to Comcast Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco.

There was some debate -- albeit not much -- about whether the team might try to retain the services of a player like nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin by using the franchise tag.

But Maiocco reports that the guaranteed price tag of $12.4 for Franklin would have been too steep.

Speaking at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, 49ers' General Manager Trent Baalke said the team would not discuss player contracts in the media.

But he did offer more timid words when it came to quarterback Alex Smith. New coach Jim Harbaugh has worried some fans with his pronouncements that he would like to see Smith return to San Francisco.

Thursday Baalke wasn't as welcoming, according to the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows.

"Right now we're treating him (Smith) as we do every other free-agent quarterback," Baalke said.

Baalke said Harbaugh and him have different approaches to some things and that explains the comments on Smith.
 

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