Niners aim to work out long-term deal for Franklin

INDIANAPOLIS — One storyline surfacing at the combine media center Thursday morning has centered on the prevalence of 3-4 defenses and the increasing value of nose tackles — both on the free-agent market and through the draft. It’s a topic I’ll try to touch on at some point later today.

But as it relates to one of the league’s 3-4 teams, the 49ers, general manager Scot McCloughan said it’s “50-50 right now” that the team will be able to work out a long-term deal with NT Aubrayo Franklin, who was given the non-exclusive franchise tag earlier this week.

“He is a vital role to how successful we are on defense,” said McCloughan, who noted that Franklin often is a two-down player as the team switches to sub-packages. “We tried to get a long-term deal done, and we couldn’t. So we had to put the tag on him. And now we’re going to fight to get a long-term deal done.”

The important date for franchise players is July 22, the day by which the two sides have to work out a long-term deal. Unless the two sides reach that deal — or the less likely scenarios that another team offers him a tender or he’s traded by the 49ers — Franklin would play the season under the $7.003 million tender.

— Frank Tadych

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