The Green Bay Packers continue to look at defensive linemen and their latest target may be the most intriguing — San Francisco 49ers lineman Ricky Jean Francois (6-3, 295).
Francois, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, was the top backup at all three line spots for the NFC champs in 2012. He filled in nicely when the 49ers lost Justin Smith and finished the year with 22 tackles and two sacks.
Francois played in 16 games with three starts and according to Bob McGinn, the Packers have already expressed interest.
With Jerel Worthy expected to miss part of the 2013 season and the defensive line still a weakness, the Packers have already lined up former Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty for a visit. Francois could be next when free agency opens.
He wouldn’t be a starter in Green Bay, but would probably be an improvement over Mike Neal and Mike Daniels.
“Solid in-line run defender,” an executive in personnel for an NFL team said last week. “Average pass rusher. He’d add good 3-4 defensive end depth and potential base-down starter as a five-technique ‘dirty work’ player. I’d prefer him more in the rotation than as a (starter).”
Francois will reportedly be seeking a deal in the $3 million per season neighborhood and the Packers should be able to afford that if they don’t blow their wad on Greg Jennings. The 49ers are expected to concentrate their efforts on re-signing safety Dashon Goldson.
Although he doesn’t have the size of Canty (6-7, 317), the 26-year-old Francois is four years younger.