The San Francisco 49ers have concluded a small bit of business, according to the NFL transaction wire. The wire says linebacker Michael Wilhoite has signed his exclusive rights free agent tender.
Wilhoite was an exclusive rights free agent because he had less than three years of service time in the NFL. As an exclusive rights free agent, Wilhoite could either choose to sign with the 49ers, or quit playing football. If he plays through this season, he will be a restricted free agent next offseason. The team will again have the option of tendering him, but it would be for more money, and Wilhoite could sign elsewhere. An ERFA is usually tendered for the veteran minimum salary, while RFA tenders vary depending on on the level assigned.
The 49ers tendered Wilhoite earlier this year, but there has been talk of signing him to a contract extension. That chatter came after some earlier rumors the team was shopping him around. Of course, those trade rumors were quickly followed by word of Patrick Willis and Chris Borland both retiring. That propelled Wilhoite to the top of the depth chart next to NaVorro Bowman. It's funny how quickly things can change.
The 49ers can still sign Wilhoite to a contract extension. In the meantime though, signing the tender gets everything settled for the coming season.