Adam Schefter is reporting the San Francisco 49ers will host defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins on Tuesday. Jenkins was released by the Philadelphia Eagles this past week. He visited with the New York Giants on Friday, and will meet with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday. Jenkins reportedly has a handful of other suitors.
Although NFL teams cannot talk to unrestricted free agents until March 9, they are allowed to talk to released players as soon as their release is finalized. In releasing Jenkins, the Eagles opened up some cap space, but it sounds like this move was more of an endorsement of Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton. The team can get younger and cheaper, which is a high priority for a lot of teams.
Jenkins played a lot of defensive tackle in the Eagles 4-3, and would be a rotational guy behind Ray McDonald and Justin Smith. He could play some end in the 3-4, but could be used even more so as one of the two defensive tackles when the 49ers move to their nickel. The defense spent much of their time in the nickel, so having a guy who can handle that interior lineman role is particularly important.
This also could mean the team is not optimistic about bringing back Ricky Jean Francois. The potential market for RJF seems to be picking up momentum, which could move him out of the 49ers price range. Matt Barrows made a good point that the 49ers would likely not want RJF's contract to exceed that of starter Ray McDonald, who is averaging $4 million per year.