Today begins a two week stretch of actual almost like football activity for the 49ers. The two week teaser culminates with a three day mandatory mini-camp which will provide a definitive answer to just how serious is this hold out business of Manny Lawson and Abrayo Franklin. A no-show there would be quite displeasing to Mike Singletary, no matter what sort of cream cheese he spreads on the public bagel.
Franklin has more leverage than Lawson, it would seem, since his NT position is more valuable and his backup, whoever that might be, would not be nearly as effective. His starting position is not in jeopardy. I suppose that could be swelling his agent’s head with dreams of pulling a Crabtree on the team and demanding a huge long term contract rather than signing the Franchise tender for the measly 7 or so million Franklin would be getting this year. I guess this could get bothersome, but rather than hurt my brain trying to analyze how these Franchise tag options work vis a vis tug-of-warsville, I would prefer to toss this speculation into the lap of our resident league matters expert, NoFear.
Lawson, on the other hand, faces some genuine competition for his job in Travis LaBoy and Ahmad Brooks. Dyral Briggs is a young fellow who might also work his way into the mix, though probably not this year.
One has to wonder if Lawson’s stay-at-home ploy is a wise maneuver. He is no doubt protecting himself from a freak OTA injury that would fry his earnings potential, but he’s in the last year of his rookie contract, wants more money and a long term deal, so it would seem remaining the starter would be paramount to these contract matters, whether he remains a 49er or goes elsewhere next year. He’s already likely to be relieved of 3rd down duty by Brooks or LaBoy. Riding the commode as a 2nd stringer and special teams guy would not do much for his resume this year.
Personally, I’d like to see Manny stay with the 49ers. But as a two down OLB, not 3. I don’t know much about LaBoy other than he was a 2nd round pick in 2004 with Tennessee, had moderate success there, hauled in a big FA contract from AZ in 2008, got off to a 4 sack start, then diddled around with a biceps injury the rest of the year, culminating in his release in the off season, followed by surgery which caused him to sit out the year in 2009. His sacks and stats are no better than Lawson’s, less actually, and he’s two years older. But he’s not asking for a fat long term contract, perhaps somewhat sated by the $7.5 million AZ deposited in his bank account as guaranteed dough two years ago. All in all, he seems comparable to Manny and if it comes down to a coin flip by Singletary, Manny might want to check both sides of the coin.
Or maybe while these two fellows are slapping each other around, Brooks will just roar right by both of them. Are you getting my drift, Manny? Drag butt in here, lad. Tis nae the time ta be dinkin’ fo dollas.
Our two starting CBs, Nate Clements and Shawntae Spencer will also not be attending the OTA portion of events, but are fully expected to be here for the mandatory mini-camp. Missing the OTAs is not a big deal since these two guys are CBs, guys who play in their own world and have far less to comprehend in any particular defensive scheme that might be getting installed while they are missing. This selective participation is probably even good for the team. It allows the coaches to put the eyeball on our CBs who are new comers and rookies.
Of course, Singletary would not endorse what I just said, but he has to pretend it matters and I don’t. Ha ha ha.