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49ers were likely candidates to use franchise tag, but no longer

Jimmy Garoppolo is under contract, and that’s all that matters.

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The San Francisco 49ers probably won’t be using the franchise tag this offseason. They were pegged as a team likely to do so previously, but the massive contract signed by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo really doesn’t give them a candidate.

They wouldn’t want to pay more than they think someone like Tank Carradine is worth, and the same applies for Eric Reid and, probably, Carlos Hyde. Daniel Kilgore is unremarkable, but he was stable in 2017, and if the rules separated centers from other centers, he might be worth the tag.

But other teams could be using it, and it’s always interesting to see which ones. The good folks at Pro Football Focus took a look at some players who could be tagged. This article was before Garoppolo’s deal, so naturally, he’s near the top of the list.

Another player who is undoubtedly worthy of receiving the tag before the deadline, Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s unlikely Garoppolo will be willing to sign any sort of extension until he sees the dust settle in free agency and lets players like Kirk Cousins set the market for him. The 49ers performance over the last five games of the 2017 season will certainly let him name his price tag. He ended up a top-10 graded quarterback for the season despite his limited playing time. It was as impressive a debut on a new team as we’ve ever seen in our 12 seasons of data.

Of course, Garoppolo didn’t wait. He set the market himself. But onto the rest of the list.

Running back Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I don’t know if the 49ers would pay Bell the kind of money he wants, but as a Carlos Hyde fan, I’d sure take Bell. They note that Bell has more yards after contact than any other player since 2016.

The other two listed are tight end Jimmy Graham of the Seattle Seahawks and Andrew Norwell of the Carolina Panthers.

But are they missing anybody? You folks tell me. If I had to bet, I’d think Bell is the only player who gets the tag this season ... unless the Steelers truly believe he will refuse to play.