Continuing Contract Construction
November 13 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Over the past two weeks the 49ers have come to agreements with three players that would have been free agents at the end of this season. Terry Jackson, Jeff Ulbrich and Paul Smith all signed contract extensions to keep them playing with the 49ers.
Terry Donahue explained that with freedom under the cap, he’s willing to work behind the scenes with some of the players to try and keep them in San Francisco. Donahue explained that the team is very happy with lots of its young talent, and so they want to keep them from going elsewhere this off-season. He continued to explain that while some players want to test the free agent waters, many also already know they want to stay in San Francisco.
The team has several other players who have contracts expiring at the end of this season. Not all players will be free agents, but the list is highlighted by Chike Okeafor, Ronnie Heard, Brian Jennings, Jose Cortez, Tim Rattay and Matt Willig. Also included are the entire practice squad, Jamal Robertson, Quincy Stewart, Brandon Moore, Jason Baker, Milford Stephenson and John Keith.
The team is really impressed with how Chike Okeafor is playing this season, and thus may look to him next to get a contract done. Okeafor is finally showing the promise the 49ers saw in him when they drafted him. Ronnie Heard and Brian Jennings are likely high on the priority list too, and the team likely will hold on to Tim Rattay who has grown nicely into his back up quarterback spot.