Getting early start: Niners sign two draft picks

***Includes updates on the contract numbers, as well as a new deal for Jeff Ulbrich that suggests the likelihood he figures into the team’s plan for this season.***

Niners chief negotiator Paraag Marathe is not waiting around for the team’s draft picks to be slotted.

The 49ers today announced the signings of linebacker Scott McKillop and defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois to four-year contracts.

McKillop and Jean-Francois join Lions quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford as the first 2009 draft picks to sign contracts.


McKillop was a fifth-round pick from Pitt, while Jean-Francois is a seventh-rounder from LSU. The 49ers have signed all their picks to at least four-year contracts in the past four years. The last time they had a rookie not signed by the first day of training camp was 2002 (Mike Rumph).


“It says a lot about these young men that they have made it a priority to get their contract negotiations out of the way early,” 49ers GM Scot McCloughan said in a statement. “Now they have the ability to focus solely on helping to make this team better and starting their professional careers off on the right foot. The cooperation we received from their agents was tremendous.”


Both players are represented by Athletes First, an agency based in Irvine that lists David Dunn, Mark Humenik and Joby Branion as its lead agents.


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UPDATES: McKillop’s deal includes a signing bonus of $192,250, while Jean-Francois’ bonus is $43,000. Those represent just less than 4-percent increases over what players chosen in those slots received last year.


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Linebacker Jeff Ulbrich apparently solidified his future with the team this offseason when he accepted a pay reduction from $2.23 million to $950,000. Ulbrich agreed to the new deal, which comes in the final year of his contract, before the club selected McKillop in the draft.


Ulbrich has played nine seasons with the 49ers. Ulbrich made $1.875 million last season. He started the first three games of the season before Takeo Spikes entered the starting lineup at inside linebacker. The club re-signed Spikes as a free agent.


But the 49ers clearly want to keep Ulbrich around as a special-teams ace and backup inside linebacker.


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