According to the Press Democrat's Eric Branch, David Baas expects to return to the San Francisco 49ers in 2011. Baas started the season "battling" rookie Mike Iupati for the starting left guard position, before being slotted into a battle with Adam Snyder and Chilo Rachal at the right guard position ... before becoming the team's starting center when Eric Heitmann went down for the season with a couple different injuries. The battle with Iupati was probably not an actual battle, while he never got time to compete with Rachal and Snyder. Baas came in and played the center position, just as he was asked.
He played it well, as it happens, and though Heitmann was very, very good when he was healthy, he still has not been cleared to practice at this point in the offseason. Heitmann is signed for another year and, if he's medically able to play, one has to figure he'll do whatever he can to fight for a job at either center or right guard, but there really is no secret in that the 49ers are looking to bring Baas back after such a great year. He's younger than Heitmann and he's got much more upside, plus he looks like a giant pile of muscle if tweets from Joe Staley's Twitter accountare to be taken into account.
Baas said that he wants to return to the team, and that he feels as though the feeling is mutual. Not only is it "probably" mutual, is essentially a definite at this point. The 49ers did, after all, negotiate with Baas when they were able to at the end of the 2010 season, but he neglected to test free agency waters. Well ... so far that hasn't worked, and barring a monster offer from another team, he should be the returning to the team in 2011, especially considering he might just be the team's highest priority (assuming a handshake deal in place with Alex Smith).
He worked out with the team in the Smith-led minicamps on the fourth and final day of practice, saying that he had scheduling issues for the prior days, but he wanted to be professional about things and show that he intends to return next season.