Offer to LB includes $15.5 signing bonus

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers offered
Julian Peterson the largest contract in franchise history, but
general manager Terry Donahue doesn't expect it will be enough to
sign the All-Pro linebacker to a long-term deal.

Donahue did not reveal details of the offer, but he said it
would include a team-record $15.5 million signing bonus.

Peterson has been a no-show at each of San Francisco's three
spring minicamps. Negotiations with Peterson's agents, Kevin and
Carl Poston, have been at a standstill since the Niners placed the
franchise tag on Peterson in February.

The Niners made that move after Peterson declined a package that
Donahue said would make the four-year veteran the second-highest
paid linebacker in the NFL. The contract would trail only the
seven-year, $50 million deal signed by Baltimore's Ray Lewis in
2002. That deal included a $19 million signing bonus.

"I think we've made our intentions really clear," Donahue
said. "Julian Peterson is an important part of the organization,
and he is a player we would like to have here for the long term or
we would have never made that kind of offer to him."

Last season, Peterson led the Niners with seven sacks and three
forced fumbles and was second on the team with 144 tackles. He was
named to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year.

The franchise tag prohibits Peterson from negotiating with any
team except the 49ers.

He has yet to sign the team's one-year tender offer of just over
$6 million, which is the average salary of the five highest-paid
players at Peterson's position.

Negotiations between Peterson and the 49ers cannot begin again
until July 15.

Donahue anticipates Peterson will hold out when training camp
begins July 30.

"Getting Julian Peterson into camp is important to us,"
Donahue said. "But at the same time, it is what it is. There
really isn't a whole lot to discuss. I do not expect us to be in
heavy negotiations [after July 15] or anything like that. We've
gone where we can go. We've made a very, very competitive offer."

Peterson's agents reportedly were asking for a deal that
included $30 million in guaranteed money before talks broke off in

When asked Wednesday whether that figure was accurate, Donahue replied, "I don't know. I lost track."