Schulters close to signing elsewhere

Lance Schulters has been offered a contract by the Tennessee Titans, and he is scheduled to make another visit this week with the New York Giants while his agent, Brian Levy, continues to negotiate with the Titans on their offer.

Schulters, an unrestricted free agent who started at safety for the 49ers the past three seasons, hasn't found the kind of big-money offers he was seeking on the open market in his first foray into free agency. He has, however, found plenty of attention for his services.

He has visited with the Giants, Titans and Atlanta Falcons, and the Arizona Cardinals also have expressed recent interest. The Niners, who are offering significantly less than Schulters is seeking, remain a longshot to retain him on their roster. But as the days pass without Schulters signing with another team, the chances increase that he could return to the Niners, if only for a one-year deal before testing free agency again next year. The Titans remain the clear frontrunner. Schulters could fit nicely into either of Tennessee's two open safety positions, and a move there would get him more than half a continent closer to Brooklyn, N.Y., where Schulters was raised and lives in the offseason.

Schulters has expressed a desire to work closer to his home and the Giants, obviously, could provide that wish better than any of the teams interested in Schulters. The Niners, meanwhile, will return their focus to free agency this week now that team officials have returned from NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla.

The Niners have indicated they will make a decision this week on the status of Pro Bowl guard Ray Brown - who is due a $500,000 roster bonus at the end of this month - and also are likely to make one final pitch to retain Schulters. The Niners, with room remaining under the salary cap, still are hoping to add one or two free agents to their roster before the April 20 college draft. Whether Brown or Schulters will be among them likely will be decided this week.


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