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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

April 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM

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Seahawks nosing around Aubrayo Franklin

Two years ago, Aubrayo Franklin was designated with the 49ers' franchise tag, which gives a pretty good idea of how improtant that team saw him. The fact San Francisco did not sign him to a long-term deal, however, certainly shows some wariness.

Well, Franklin is a free agent, and he visited the Seahawks on Tuesday, according to the report sent to all teams in the league, which notes free-agent visits.

It's an interesting possibility. Before free agency began, there was some talk the Seahawks might pursue Paul Soliai, a defensive tackle. On the face of things, that's a little puzzling.

After all, nosetackle is a valued position in the 3-4 scheme, which the Seahawks don't play.

That was Franklin's value to the 49ers two years ago, too. A 3-4 nose.

The fact Seattle might be interested underscores the flexibility of Seattle's defense, and the fact that it is not a conventional 4-3 defense.

How interested is Seattle? We'll have to see.

The Seahawks have been bargain-hunting on one-year deals for more than a week now. Franklin is 31, and Seattle has already spent a fair amount of money on its defensive line the past two years with long-term deals for Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant and short-term, healthy-salaried contracts for Alan Branch and Jason Jones.

Also, the Seahawks front office has quite a bit of familiarity with Franklin given Scott McLoughan's background with him. McLoughan -- a Seahawks executive -- was the 49ers GM when they acquired Franklin in 2007.

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