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NFL free agents 2013: Packers rumored to interested in Ricky Jean Francois

Reports out of Green Bay indicate the Packers might be interested in Ricky Jean Francois. We take a look at the rumor and whether the 49ers will re-sign the versatile backup.

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Ezra Shaw

Reports out of Green Bay indicate the Packers might be interested in 49ers defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois. According to reports, the Packers could be looking at RJF as a potential replacement for Jerel Worthy. The Packers second round pick last season, Worthy was part of a rotation that played 3-4 defensive end and some interior tackle in the team's nickel defense.

RJF spent the last two seasons as the primary backup at nose tackle and defensive end, while also getting work in the 49ers' nickel defense. The chatter around Ricky Jean has been all over the place. Matt Barrows said it is more likely the 49ers let him go and strike a "reasonable deal" with Isaac Sopoaga. Matt Maiocco simply said RJF would be popular if he hits free agency, and Sopoaga could hit free agency as the 49ers are not looking to match the previous deal in which he averaged $4 million. Adam Caplan tweeted that the 49ers want to re-sign RJF before free agency starts, and at least five or six teams could pursue him if that does not happen.

That really does not provide us any answers at this point. While the 49ers might want to re-sign RJF, it would not surprise me to see him wait and see what the market has to offer. If his agent is hearing rumors of interest from multiple teams, it might be worth waiting to see what kind of deals are out there.

Part of it might depend on how much starting time he might get from another team. If he sticks with the 49ers, his future role would remain a bit hazy. If the team let Sopoaga go, it is possible they would go with RJF as their primary nose tackle. He is not as big as a traditional nose tackle, but he has shown skills at the position and the 49ers are in their base less than half the time. On the other hand, the 49ers might view him strictly in his utility role, and might be looking for a long-term answer at nose tackle through the draft.