Report: Packers interested in Jean Francois

Report: Packers interested in Jean Francois
February 26, 2013, 5:30 pm
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The Packers selected Jerel Worthy with the 51st overall pick in last year's NFL Draft, but a year later they are looking to fill his 308-pound hole on the defensive line.

Worthy's 2013 season is in question after Dr. James Andrews performed surgery last week to repair a torn ACL, and the Green Bay front office is interested in replacing him with 49ers versatile defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report.

Jean Francois was first off the bench when the 49ers needed to replace a defensive lineman during their successful 2012 campaign. The 6-foot-3, 295-pound lineman started three games last year, replacing nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga against the Jets and defensive end Justin Smith in the final two games of the regular season.

The four-year veteran will become an unrestricted free agent on March 12 if he isn't re-signed by the 49ers, and reports indicate he could command a yearly salary around $3 million in the open market. If that's the case, the Packers might not be the only team courting Jean-Francois.

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The 26-year old who can play any position on the defensive line is coming off his most productive NFL season. Jean Francois participated in all 19 games for the 49ers last year, including three postseason contests, and totaled career highs with 13 tackles and two sacks.

Elsewhere on the 49ers defensive line, Isaac Sopoaga could also hit free agency as the team is not expected to pay the $4 million average the nose tackle received on his last contract. Justin Smith is expected to rehab his triceps and return for the final year of his 49ers contract. And Ray McDonald's five-year deal will keep wearing Red and Gold through the 2015 season.

Expect the 49ers to address to defensive front in late April, as this year's NFL Draft boasts a strong class of D-linemen.

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