GM: Negotiations over until Peterson's in

In case there was any misunderstanding, general manager Terry Donahue made it clear Tuesday morning where the 49ers stand regarding any discussions on a new contract with All-Pro linebacker Julian Peterson: They won't be participating in any until Peterson signs his one-year tender offer and begins practicing with the team.

Rumors circulated around the Niners last weekend that Peterson, who is living in an apartment near team headquarters in Santa Clara, would return to practice early this week. But that didn't happen, and Donahue said there's nothing left for anybody to do but wait for Peterson to show up.

Peterson was tagged by the team in February as its exclusive franchise player. In accordance with the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the league's player's association, Peterson has been offered a one-year tender of $6.073 million – the average salary of the five highest-paid players at his position – to play this season.

"At this particular time, there's really not much to be done until Julian signs the tender and comes in and practices and then we, in effect, begin negotiations anew," Donahue said.

"That's just the way the system is, that's the way the system works," the GM continued. "When he decides to come in, he'll come in and sign the tender and then we'll begin in earnest to try and do a long-term deal with Julian and Kevin Poston."

Donahue said he has not met or talked with Peterson or his agents, Kevin and Carl Poston, since early spring. The 49ers have offered Peterson a six-year, $37.8 million deal that, Donahue has said, would make him the highest-paid player in franchise history. That deal includes a $15.5 million signing bonus.

The Postons are looking to negotiate a more lucrative deal for their client that would feature more up-front money. But, Donahue said, at this point the Niners won't even consider talking again until Peterson signs his exclusive franchise tender and reports to the team.

"We've had no negotiations nor do we expect to have any negotiations until Julian signs the franchise tender and comes in," Peterson said. "I haven't had any contact with Julian, so I really don't have any idea when that would be."

Donahue said a fresh approach to negotiations might be a positive thing for both sides.

"You begin all over again, which in our case might be a good thing for everybody," Donahue said. "When Julian decides to come in and play, he'll sign the franchise tender, then we'll begin in earnest to try and do a long-term deal. If we can, we'd be excited about it. And that would certainly be our intention. I think it would be in our best interests and their best interests to get a long-term deal done. And if we can't because we're just too far apart, then we just play the year out and see what happens."


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