By Nick WagonerESPN Staff Writer
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- With the NFL's free-agent negotiating window opening in less than a week, the San Francisco 49ers have stayed in contact with representatives for running back Carlos Hyde, according to general manager John Lynch.
Speaking at last week's NFL combine, Lynch reiterated his previous stance that the Niners would be happy to welcome Hyde back for a fifth season and beyond. He also indicated he would have further meetings with Hyde's agents in Indianapolis.
"We’ve had discussions with Carlos all the way through the season," Lynch said. "We haven’t been able to come to an agreement, but those discussions are ongoing. This is a great opportunity. ... We have an opportunity and we will talk to all of [our free agents] right down to the wire. I wouldn’t say anything is imminent there."
This close to the start of free agency, it would be unusual for a team and a player to strike an agreement that has nothing to do with a one-year franchise or transition tag, neither of which is considered an option the Niners would pursue with Hyde. In the absence of a deal, all signs point to Hyde hitting the market and the 49ers exploring a talented class of running backs, which Lynch considers the deepest position in the upcoming NFL draft, as well as some intriguing possibilities in free...