Thanks to 49er16 for getting a FanShot on this topic up earlier this afternoon. Given the importance of this topic it would seem worthy of a front page post. Additionally, I know a lot of you check this site through RSS feeds, Google News and our Yahoo feed, among other things, so you might have missed the FanShot. As everybody is discussing, Adam Schefter is reporting that 49ers nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin is planning on flying to town on Saturday to sign his franchise tender offer from the 49ers. This will get him under contract for one season at $7.003 million. The 49ers and Franklin were unable to come to terms on a long-term deal, so he'll play out the 2010 season under this contract.
For those of you following training camp closely, you know that second year defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois has done an outstanding job learning the role of nose tackle in the 3-4. He's been taking the first AND second team snaps at nose tackle, which means he's getting as many reps as anybody in camp. Now that Franklin is likely to be back with the team, he'll take over those first team snaps at some point. Although we've seen laziness creep in on other players around the league, I'm going to assume he's in shape and ready to go at this point. Let's hope so.
It remains to be seen if the 49ers and Franklin will work out a long term deal beyond this season. Given the emergence of RJF, the team might decide it's comfortable turning the nose tackle reins over to him and letting Franklin walk. Of course, one offseason and training camp of solid work does not guarantee RJF is ready to take over the job on a full time basis. That's a gamble the 49ers have to decide whether they're willing to take.
If Franklin is coming to town on Saturday I'm guessing it's a safe bet he won't be playing on Saturday. I'd be shocked if he was even in pads on Saturday. That means he'd get back into practice following the Raiders game and hopefully be able to get some meaningful playing time next week against the Chargers.
The big question at this point will be where he's at both in terms of conditioning and in terms of hitting and taking hits. Although there are two preseason games to go, the 2010 regular season is just around the corner and they need Franklin up to speed as soon as possible.