November 8 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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It turns out Terry Jackson, the injured 49ers halfback, was not the only player to receive a contract extension last week. The 49ers extended the contract of two other players last week to help keep some of their younger talent around for the future.
Paul Smith, the teams backup fullback signed a contract extension. Smith, who has been out of the line up for a few weeks and played sparingly last week, has excelled on special teams, and is a physically bruising back that can pick up needed first downs. He’s also a good blocker, and was asked to make the switch from half back to full back this off-season.
The team also extended the contract of Jeff Ulbrich who has started off and on throughout his career at linebacker with the 49ers. Ulbrich is currently playing with a knee injury, that reportedly requires surgery because of the lack of depth the 49ers have at linebacker due to injury. His new deal includes a $1.2 million signing bonus and totals $5.15 million.
With the three extensions the 49ers have gotten a jump start on free agency this year. All three players were set to have their contracts expire after this season, and clearly, the 49ers wanted to keep all three of them around. This approach is drastically different than what the 49ers have done in the past years, rushing to sign the free agents through the free agency period, clearly the 49ers are happier with this groups set of free agents than they have been in the past.