SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14: Carlos Rogers #22 of the San Francisco 49ers forces an incomplete pass against Adrian Arrington #87 of the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter of the NFC Divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
NFL free agency remains several weeks away as teams figure out what to do with their own free agents, including new contracts and franchise tags. For now we are stuck speculating on the numerous possibilities of what a departure or signing means. The 49ers have begun their work as they locked up C.J. Spillman to a three-year contract, but there are still some big fish to fry in the coming weeks.
One of the big decisions for the 49ers is how much they are willing to spend to retain Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers. The 49ers got a great deal on him as he turned in a dominant season, but of course now they have to pay the piper if they want to retain him, even if with any sort of "I love San Francisco" discount. The 49ers are also looking at deals for safety Dashon Goldson, which complicates matters for the secondary to a certain extent.
Let's assume, for argument's sake, that a bidding war develops and the 49ers decide they are not prepared to pay X amount for Rogers. He walks and the 49ers release/trade Shawntae Spencer, leaving the team with Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Tramaine Brock, Curtis Holcomb and Cory Nelms at the cornerback position.
I'm planning on doing more hypotheticals like this (thus the new section (49ers Hypotheticals). For this particular one I was motivated by a post by Bay Area Sports Guy in which he breaks down some possible cornerbacks he could see the 49ers going after based on their 2011 strategy of going after undervalued players. He discussed Jason Allen, Kelly Jennings, Aaron Ross, Marcus Trufant and Eric Wright. Not exactly guys who jump off the page (minus the familiar name of Eric Wright), but intriguing options nonetheless.
At this point, I am curious to see how excited the 49ers are about a starting cornerback duo of Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver. There have been reports that the 49ers are comfortable moving Culliver into the starting lineup in 2012. They seemed satisfied with Tarell Brown in the starting lineup in 2011, so one has to wonder how many resources they would put into the cornerback position this offseason.
The 49ers will definitely be adding some depth to the position, but I am less inclined to think they would add any significant options in free agency or the draft. Rather, adding someone under the radar to compete with Brown and Culliver, but who could do good work as a third or fourth cornerback would make some sense.
If Carlos Rogers walks, what steps do the 49ers take in response at the cornerback position?