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49ers to bring in Ricky Jean Francois for visit

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The San Francisco 49ers are expected to bring in an old friend for a free agent visit. We look at what Ricky Jean Francois could mean for the 49ers defensive line.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers are bringing in an old friend for a visit. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting free agent Ricky Jean Francois will visit the 49ers and Washington. RJF was released by the Indianapolis Colts earlier this week, which means he is an unrestricted free agent, and immediately eligible to visit and sign with a team, ahead of the March 10 start to regular free agency.

RJF spent the last two seasons with the Colts, after departing the 49ers in free agency. At the time, Justin Smith and Ray McDonald were locked in as the team's defensive tackles, with Ian Williams looked at as the potential nose tackle of the future. More importantly, the 49ers quickly pursued and signed Glenn Dorsey with a 2-year deal worth $6.075 million. While Dorsey ended up as the team's nose tackle in 2013 when Williams got hurt, he came in with the versatility to play all three spots on the line the base defense. When RJF signed a 4-year, $22 million deal, it was easy to see why the 49ers did not appear to heavily push to re-sign him.

RJF would provide solid depth for a line that lost Ray McDonald, and might lose Justin Smith. The team has a lot of bodies competing for playing time, but there are enough question marks that RJF would be a solid backup option if necessary. Williams and Dorsey are both returning from injury, so there could be significant opportunities for playing time, even for reserves.