Yesterday came and went without a lockout, but it may have closed the door on the 49er careers of Alex Smith and Abrayo Franklin. Neither of these players is expected to re-sign with the team.
The Niners indifference to giving Franklin a long term contract indicates either the team considers him replaceable or the dude just wants Dan Snyder money. Franklin is thirty or so, and this is his one and only chance to max out his bank account, so it’s hard to blame him for being a greedy, me-first, traitorous punk. Whoever signs him is likely to get a far less motivated player than the one who just had two stellar seasons by the Bay. Motivation and smarts were more Franklin’s assets here than blunt force trauma. With motivation dimmed, he’ll have to get by on smarts and that won’t be enough.
It’s doubtful the team thinks it can plug a draft pick into Franklin’s spot next year, so it will be interesting to see how they fill this hole in the D-line. Ricky Francois was moved to the nose during training camp last year, but that occurred under a regime that is no longer here. What the new regime thinks of Francois is yet to be determined.
It likely wasn’t their call, anyway. It was Trent Baalke’s. He’s the roster guy and he chose last year not to re-up Franklin, so we’ll see what Trent has in mind — as soon as the new CBA gets signed. For some reason, I expect Baalke to be proactive in free agency. He’s come across as very self-assured and even grimly enthusiastic about reshaping the roster he inherited from Scot McCloughan.
In fact, the whole new regime — Baalke, Jim Harbaugh, and Vic Fangio — gives off an eager confidence. Mike Singletary pulsed with an arrogant attitude, McCloughan with a timid cockiness, and Mike Nolan with a brisk military approach. But the new guys are eager and excited. I’ll buy that — for openers.
On the CBA front, the owners seem to have lost their war, so to speak. Judge Doty’s ruling wiped out two years of carefully plotted domination and exposed them as the bad guys in the room. If we were capable of imbuing these rich geeks with the savvy to conduct a plot within a plot within a plot, one could be tempted to opine that they got what they wanted: creating a big, hairy scare. Big enough to allow them to siphon a billion or two off the top of a new CBA, along with getting a rookie salary cap and probably an eighteen game season. The players are getting a status quo on the 59% money split, which the plot within the plot had tossed into the arena as being the central interest of the owners.
As you may surmise, I’ve been watching reruns of The X-Files, where nothing is ever what it seems to be. I’d rather just believe the owners are clueless dorks with too much money and too little cool. Big Brother smiles down on my simplistic desires. Go ahead, Big Guy. I’m having more fun than you. Ha ha ha.