Matt Maiocco is reporting that the San Francisco 49ers have submitted tender offers to restricted free agents Manny Lawson, Dashon Goldson and Ray McDonald. The submission of tender offers to RFAs is that the 49ers now gain a right of first refusal on contract offers by other teams. An example of this came a few years back when Andy Lee received a six year contract offer from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lee went to Pitt and might have enjoyed a return to the area, but the 49ers had tendered him a contract and thus were able to match the deal. The 49ers are not obligated to match offers, but they have the opportunity to match if they so choose.
At this point we don't know the implications an eventual new CBA would have on current RFAs. It's possible guys like Dashon Goldson and Ray McDonald could be set free. All of this depends on the details of a new collective bargaining agreement. One player that did not receive a tender yet is QB Troy Smith. The 49ers have time left to submit a tender to Smith, but without one it would seem likely the team is prepared to let him walk after this season.
If a new CBA gets done and free agency gets going it will be interesting to see what kinds of offers Lawson, Goldson and McDonald all receive. If I had to rank the likelihood of returning I'd go something like McDonald, Goldson, Lawson in that order. I think of all of them Lawson is likely to receive the biggest offer. However, it will be interesting to see what Goldson gets based off his big 2009 season (even with his 2010 struggles).