Good news will come for 49ers eventually

What’s next for the San Francisco 49ers? First, 2008 first-round draft pick Kentwan Balmer has gone AWOL, putting his future with the franchise in jeopardy. Then, running back Glen Coffee shocked everyone by going Barry Sanders this morning, although the backup retires after just one season and several thousand yards shy of Sanders.

Well, the team could be getting defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin back in the fold before long. With Balmer likely headed out the door, the Niners will need Franklin, one of their top defensive players. He is staying away from training camp as the club has placed the franchise tag on him. It’s a smart move. Franklin’s money will be guaranteed the minute he signs the franchise tender, but his future beyond 2010 will not be. By skipping training camp – and much of the preseason – he ensures he will not be injured.

Jason La Canfora of NFL.com speculates that Franklin will arrive in the “coming weeks.” Well, that’s a safe bet. He’s definitely coming in before the season begins and the 49ers are not worried he’s going to arrive and be sloppy and out of shape.

Franklin would like assurances the 49ers will not play tag with him again in 2011. Those types of guarantees are usually tied to playing time. For instance, when the Bears cut a deal like that with linebacker Lance Briggs, he had to play 85 percent of the snaps in 2007 to not be tagged the following year. He did just that. The bottom line is Franklin needs to remain healthy and needs to perform at a high level to get the big pay day he is seeking.

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