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Morning Report: For Third-Consecutive Year, 49ers Forgo Franchise Tag

Good Morning Faithful,

Here are your top 49ers storylines for Wednesday, March 9.

New and Notable

49ers Opt to Not Use Franchise Tag Ahead of Deadline

The 1 p.m. PT deadline has come and gone as the San Francisco 49ers opted to not utilize the franchise tag. A club can designate one "franchise" player or one "transition" player among its veteran free agents. And on Tuesday, the league closed the window on a team's ability to designate that player.

San Francisco heads into the start of the new league year with 28 players with expiring contracts, and per general manager John Lynch at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, the 49ers brass is working hard to retain a number of their key playmakers.

Under San Francisco's current regime, the 49ers have rarely opted to tag a pending free agent, with the lone occurrence coming in 2019 as the team placed the franchise tag on kicker Robbie Gould.

2022 Free Agent Primer: Top Players Available

The start of the new league year kicks off on March 16, which also means the beginning of free agency for players with expiring contracts. With the decline of the salary cap in 2021, a number of players were signed to one-year deals which means that there will be plenty of talent set to hit the open market again in 2022.

The San Francisco 49ers have a number of decisions to make as the team has 28 players scheduled to hit free agency. Under the current regime, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have made it a priority of keeping a number of playmakers in red and gold, but should San Francisco opt to look outside its building, here's a look at 25 of the top free agents according to NFL.com, their free agency status, along with a note on their production in 2021.

Roster Moves

The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday they have signed OL Keaton Sutherland to a Reserve/Future contract.

Sutherland (6-5, 315) originally entered the NFL after signing with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent on May 10, 2019. Following his release from the Bengals on August 31, 2019, he was signed to the team's practice squad the following day. Sutherland appeared in one game for the Bengals prior to being waived by the team on September 25, 2019. He was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins and went on to see action in three games (two starts) during the 2019 season. Sutherland was later waived by the Dolphins on September 5, 2020. Over the previous two seasons (2020-21), he spent time on the Bengals practice squad and also appeared in two games for the team.

Say Cheese

Relieve some of the best photos of 49ers players taking the field during the 2021 season.

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