With the window quickly closing on the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, the San Francisco 49ers made several moves Wednesday, extending one-year restricted tenders to three defensive players: safety Dashon Goldson, outside linebacker Manny Lawson and defensive tackle Ray McDonald. The team also tendered a one-year contract to exclusive-rights free agent C.J. Spillman.
Those moves may have little or no meaning at 9 p.m. PT Thursday when the NFL's current CBA ends. No one knows how the parameters for free agency will look under a new deal between owners and players, but for now, the 49ers have the ability to retain Goldson, Lawson and McDonald by matching offers they might receive from other teams.
Under the uncapped 2010 rules, players with four and five years of service were restricted. Prior to that, players with three years could be restricted if they were not already under contract.
It's likely that Lawson, who has five years as a player, will be unrestricted even under a new CBA. That was how many years were needed to be an unrestricted free agent under the old rules.
Lawson, 26, has started every game in each of the past two seasons and finished this season with 64 tackles, 2½ sacks and two forced fumbles. Goldson, 26, was fourth on the team with 102 tackles. McDonald, 25, was used primarily as a third-down pass rusher and had 56 tackles and one interception for a touchdown.
Spillman, 24, was claimed off waivers from the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 12 and played in 11 games. He finished second on the team with 21 special teams stops.
Quarterback Troy Smith could have been extended a restricted free agent tender, but the Niners chose not to include him.