Allen acquisition a throwback to dynasty days

The signing of guard Larry Allen as a free agent ranks as one of the 49ers' highest-profile acquisitions in club history, bringing back memories of the team's approach during its dynastic heyday. When the Niners were going full throttle for Super Bowl titles in the 1980s and '90s, they regularly would acquire potential Hall of Fame players who were nearing the ends of their careers.

They received a handful of outstanding seasons from defensive end Fred Dean, who helped the 49ers to their first Super Bowl title in 1981, after acquiring him in a trade with the Chargers. Some have tried to build a case for Dean as a Hall of Famer.

The 49ers also added Deion Sanders for the title run in 1994, along with Richard Dent, Rickey Jackson and Ken Norton Jr. They signed potential Hall of Famer Rod Woodson in 1997. Long before that, they acquired O.J. Simpson in a trade with the Bills.

The list goes even deeper than that. Perennial Pro Bowl safety Tim McDonald joined the team as a free agent in the prime of his career in 1993, OG Ray Brown and DE Chris Doleman were brought in through free agency in 1996, and OG Kevin Gogan and LB Kevin Greene were brought in before the 1997 season for the final championship push of the team's two-decade dynasty.

The signing of Allen is considered a huge move to acquire an offensive lineman who has been one of the most dominant players in the league during the span of his 12-year career. A 10-time Pro Bowler and eight-time All-Pro, Allen was named to the 1990s All-Decade team, and he is widely considered a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection.

"I'd say, without question, he's one of the best I've seen," said 49ers coach Mike Nolan, whose teams faced Allen twice a year in the NFC East when Nolan was defensive coordinator of the Giants and Redskins.

Although NFL scouts detect that Allen has lost the mobility to get out and lead sweeps, he is still regarded as a punishing blocker in close quarters. He should be able to help the 49ers' inside running attack this season. The 49ers ranked 17th in the league in rushing last season.

Also, his acquisition strengthens the 49ers on the line because it adds depth to the position. One offensive lineman who would have been required to start in 2006 will be pushed to the sideline as depth.


--- In his former role as a defensive coordinator, Nolan has had to scheme against Allen for many years.

Nolan said one play stands out. He said he believed it was linebacker Corey Miller who intercepted a pass against the Cowboys and was heading for the end zone.

"He had the interception and had clear sailing," Nolan said. "Larry Allen ran him down before he got there. That says something about his toughness and his athleticism.

"Nowadays, at his age, I don't know he's going to run anyone down."

--- Receiver Derrick Hamilton is still undergoing rehab work on his left knee after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in May. He missed all of last season. Rashaun Woods, who spent last season on injured reserve after undergoing surgery to repair torn thumb ligaments, is back and working with the other receivers.

--- With the addition of Allen at left guard, the 49ers plan to shift Justin Smiley to right guard as the starter. David Baas and Eric Heitmann will work at guard and center. Veteran center Jeremy Newberry is making progress in his rehabilitation from knee surgery, which forced him out of six games last season.

--- After losing free-agent linebacker Julian Peterson to the Seahawks, an NFC West opponent, the 49ers have a gaping hole to fill on defense. Peterson was the team's franchise player the last two seasons.

The 49ers re-signed Brandon Moore, who could play the strongside outside linebacker position. But the 49ers plan to dip into the free-agent waters as well as draft one or more linebackers in next month's draft.

The 49ers remain interested in re-signing free-agent Saleem Rasheed, who has not given the organization much production in his first four seasons in the league.

"I would say it affects our team," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said of losing Peterson. "J.P. is a good player, very well-liked, and very athletic. He had a lot to do with successes they've had here in the six years he played. It affects in a way that we got to get a player to fill that linebacker position. It could be addressed in the draft or could be addressed in free agency. I don't know how that will be solidified. We'll be working to get a player to play that position. Right now, it's Brandon Moore."


1. Pass rusher: The 49ers have already lost Peterson to the Seahawks and Andre Carter to the Redskins through free agency. That's two of the team's very best pass rushers. The 49ers need to find players to put heat on the quarterback, whether he is a DE or an OLB in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme.

2. Defensive back: The 49ers added CB Walt Harris through free agency, but they're not through at this position. Harris is ideally suited to be a nickel back. The 49ers need another good CB. They also are in the market for a free safety to take over for Mike Adams, who started 10 games last season and struggled. Adams also probably is best suited to a role as a cornerback in secondary coverage packages.

3. Tight end: Antonio Bryant and Arnaz Battle appear set as the team's starting receivers, but the 49ers need to find some help in the passing game from the tight end position. Eric Johnson is expected to return after missing all of last season with a foot injury, but the 49ers need to find someone who is not so injury-prone to be a factor as a pass catcher.


--- S Marques Anderson was a late-season acquisition brought to team because of the myriad of injuries in the defensive backfield. There's still a possibility he will be signed later in the year to compete for a backup role in the secondary if he doesn't receive interest elsewhere on the open market.

--- TE Steve Bush did not add much to the team at a position that was one of its glaring weaknesses. The team is unlikely to offer him a deal to return.

--- T Anthony Clement started at left tackle for a rough six-game stretch. The team would like to be a little more confident in its backups in the future, and he has no place in San Francisco's plans along the offensive line, particularly after the acquisition of Allen.

--- DE Travis Hall does not figure into the team's plan, and he might decide to call it a career.

--- TE Terry Jones, a Ravens' castoff, came to 49ers at midseason and immediately became a starter. Still, this is a spot the 49ers have to upgrade significantly, and they probably will look to do so through the draft, which is loaded with high-quality tight end prospects.

--- LB Saleem Rasheed is an injury-prone player who has not been much of a factor on defense or special teams since being a third-round pick in 2002. His upside potential, however, still has the team interested in bringing him back to add reserve depth.


--- QB Ken Dorsey (tendered at $721,600 with 7th-round pick as compensation) will return to compete for a backup job.


--- S Mike Adams, who started 10 games last season, received a tender and will return for third season.

--- RB Maurice Hicks, a reliable No. 3 back and solid special-teams performer, received a tender and will return to the club.


--- FB Chris Hetherington: Potential UFA; $770,000/1 yr; 2006 cap: $460,000.

--- WR Jason McAddley: UFA; $585,000/1 yr.

--- LB Brandon Moore: UFA; $8M/5 yrs, $794,067 SB.

--- PK Joe Nedney: UFA; $6M/4 yrs, $1.56M SB.

--- S Kris Richard: Not tendered as RFA; but signed back to teams with terms unknown.

--- LB Derek Smith: Potential UFA; $14M/3 yrs, $6M SB.


--- OG Larry Allen: FA Cowboys; 2 yrs, terms unknown; contract believed to be worth $4 to $5 million per year.

--- WR Antonio Bryant: UFA Browns; $15M/4 yrs, SB unknown, believed to be more than $5 million.

--- WR Bryan Gilmore: UFA Dolphins; $585,000/1 yr.

--- CB Walt Harris: FA Redskins; exact terms of two-year deal unknown; base salary of $835,000 each year.

--- QB Jesse Palmer: FA; $545,000/1 yr; 2006 cap: $460,000.


--- FB Fred Beasley: UFA Dolphins; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--- LB Andre Carter: UFA Redskins; $30M/6 yrs, $5M SB.

--- DE Chris Cooper (released).

--- WR Brandon Lloyd: Traded Redskins after given first-round tender as RFA.

--- WR Johnnie Morton (released).

--- LB Julian Peterson: UFA Seahawks; $54M/6 yrs, $11.5M SB.

--- CB Ahmed Plummer (released/failed physical).

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