Hope to visit; 49ers have chance with own LBs

Niners head coach Mike Nolan said late Monday afternoon that free-agent safety Chris Hope will make a visit to team headquarters at some point in the next few days. While saying that San Francisco never came close to making an offer to Andre Carter that was comparable to what he received Monday to sign with Washington, Nolan indicated that recent developments during the start of free agency have improved the 49ers' chances of re-signing free-agent linebackers Brandon Moore and Julian Peterson.

The 49ers would have liked to have brought back Carter, their No. 1 pick in the 2001 draft who has under-performed in recent seasons since his 12.5-sack sophomore season of 2002.

But the Niners were no match for the Redskins, who grossly overpaid Carter on Monday when the unrestricted free agent signed a six-year deal worth a reported $30 million.

"Washington was way ahead of anybody on that one," said Nolan, who indicated the Niners made Carter a representative offer to return that wasn't in the ballpark of the figures he was offered by the Redskins.

"I was disappointed for us, but I was happy for Andre," Nolan continued. "He did a good job and we wanted him back. But at the same time, there's a value that goes with everybody. It just didn't work out with us. I was disappointed that he chose to go to Washington, but on the other hand, I'm happy for him. He certainly has to be happy with that deal."

As Carter drops off the open market, linebacker Julian Peterson conspicuously remains available to all bidders, and the chances have improved that the Niners may be able to work a deal for the two-time Pro Bowler who many observers consider the top outside linebacker available in free agency this year.

Nolan also said that fifth-year linebacker Brandon Moore is receiving strong interest in free agency, but that "things are going very well" in San Francisco's attempts to re-sign him.

As for Peterson, who was slapped with the franchise tag by the 49ers each of the past two seasons before being allowed to explore free agency this year, Nolan said, "There's that possibility we will get him back. I don't know why I have a sense of being encouraged that he might (return) in what everything that's happen so far, but I would like to have J.P. back."

Nolan confirmed that the 49ers will continue to address their needs for upgrading their secondary by bringing in Hope – who started for the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers last year – for a visit this week.

Nolan wouldn't divulge any other names, but he did say, "I would like to see (another) player or two in tomorrow (for a visit) or the next day and beyond."

Though several top free agents that were on the 49ers' radar already have been signed by other teams, Nolan said not to read into that as a suggestion the Niners won't be able to meet their needs or objectives in free agency.

"(Being) high profile doesn't always make you the best (free-agent player)," Nolan said. "There's guys that have a lot of value that people might not sign out of the blocks. Even though a lot of high-profile guys have signed already, that doesn't mean the best are gone. There are still a lot of good players out there, and we have time to try and get them."

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