49ers Defensive Line: What's The Plan After Justin Smith?

As the San Francisco 49ers prepare for the eventual free agency period to begin, the big question mark on defense would seem to be Aubrayo Franklin. The team elected to not use the franchise tag on him and now have to wait and see if they have the money to resign the big nose tackle. The team is expected to re-sign free agent center David Baas and has several other decisions to make alongside Franklin.

What makes the Aubrayo Franklin free agency decision all the more difficult is the domino effect it has along the rest of the defensive line. If Franklin is at nose tackle, the team can rotate in Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean-Francois, and Ray McDonald at left defensive end. Additionally, they can roll Sopoaga and RJF in at nose tackle to spell Franklin. It's a great situation because the team has a talented rotation.

If Franklin walks, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will have to figure out how best to handle the defensive line. Some folks are concerned that Ricky Jean-Francois doesn't have the time under his belt to be the full-time nose tackle. What do folks think? How would you organize Sopoaga, RJF, and McDonald along the defensive line if Franklin walks? Demetric Evans is also a free agent and potentially walking which leaves those three and maybe Will Tukuafu if he can work his way on to the 53-man roster.

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