The 49ers hope to retain some important scheduled free agents, but they are not expected to resort to the franchise tag to get it done.

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin, safety Donte Whitner and cornerback Tarell Brown are 2013 starters who the 49ers would like to see return to the team in 2014. But the franchise tag does not appear to be a realistic option for any of them.

Boldin made $6 million last season in salary after the 49ers acquired him from the Baltimore Ravens for a sixth-round draft pick. Boldin had the best year for a 49ers wide receiver since Terrell Owens in 2002 with 85 catches for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns. But the projected franchise tag of $11.5 million is exorbitant for a player who turns 34 next season.

Whitner signed a three-year, $11.4 million contract with the 49ers in 2011. The franchise tag for a safety is projected to be approximately $8 million. Whitner appears likely to hit the free-agent market, where he could compete with Cleveland’s T.J. Ward and Buffalo’s Jairus Byrd. Ward and Byrd are both candidates to be franchised by their respective teams.

And the 49ers made a goodwill gesture of a $300,000 payment to Brown in December as a partial makeup for Brown's forfeiture of a $2 million escalator when he did not take part in the 49ers' offseason program. The projected franchise tag for a cornerback is around $11.2 million.