Obligatory 49ers free-agent departure item

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
5:43
PM ET
Aubrayo Franklin's one-year agreement with the New Orleans Saints gives San Francisco fans another reason to lament the 49ers' approach to free agency.

Don't shoot the messenger, folks.

Franklin helped anchor a 49ers defense that was strong against the run. His presence on the line made life easier for Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis.

I can see why the 49ers weren't willing to give a lucrative long-term deal to Franklin. No other team was apparently willing to give him one. That is telling. Unfortunately for San Francisco, the psychology at work in a situation such as this one often leads to a player's departure. If Franklin was going to show up for work after signing a disappointing deal, he was more apt to do so in another locker room. That is human nature.

The 49ers will now have new starters at every level of their defense. Takeo Spikes is gone. Nate Clements is gone. Dashon Goldson could still go. And now Franklin.

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