NEW YORK -- The San Francisco 49ers forfeited their fifth-round pick in next month's NFL draft on Monday after commissioner Roger Goodell deemed them guilty of tampering with Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs.
Goodell also determined the teams will switch picks in the third round of the April 26-27 draft. Chicago, which had the 12th pick, will get San Francisco's seventh pick and the 49ers will get Chicago's choice.
Goodell determined the 49ers violated the NFL's anti-tampering policy by contacting Briggs' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, about his client during the 2007 season.
Briggs, an all-Pro in 2007, had been designated as Chicago's franchise player, signing a one-year tender that meant he could not leave the Bears.
"The 49ers organization respects Commissioner Goodell's ruling today," said 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan, "however we do disagree with it. This was not a malicious act; we believe that our intent was within the NFL guidelines. Going forward, we will take the necessary steps to ensure we are in compliance with the NFL's interpretation."
Briggs had been expected to leave as a free agent after last season but instead re-signed with Chicago for $36 million over six years this offseason. Briggs will earn $21.6 million in the first three years of the deal and $13 million of the contract is guaranteed.
There had been reports of contact between the 49ers and Rosenhaus last season, and the Bears filed a tampering charge with the NFL. Goodell said both teams cooperated with his investigation into the allegations.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved