A year after taking their time to deal with a saturated post-lockout free agency market, the San Francisco 49ers have not wasted any time taking care of some important business. Although we have seen some fan favorites like Josh Morgan and Blake Costanza depart, the 49ers have done some solid work through the first 24 hours.
The most notable position has to be cornerback. The 49ers re-upped Carlos Rogers with a four year contract and added in former Broncos CB Perrish Cox on a two year deal for the veteran's minimum. The return of Rogers means the entire starting defense will be back in 2012. Although some members of the defense did have "career years" in 2011, given the overall unit performance, bringing all eleven back does not strike me as anything but a good idea at this point.
The addition of Cox creates some welcome depth at the position, but where that depth is remains to be seen. With or without Shawntae Spencer, the 49ers cornerback depth chart is really quite deep heading into 2012. Carlos Rogers will be one starter. Tarell Brown finished 2011 strong, but the team has also indicated they would be comfortable with Chris Culliver in the starting lineup in 2012. That might have been in relation to losing Rogers, but we'll find out a lot more in five months.
If those three are the main three, the depth behind them really is quite intriguing to consider. Perrish Cox will compete with Tramaine Brock and Curtis Holcomb for the fourth cornerback position. The 49ers used Culliver a lot last year as the third cornerback, so having a strong fourth will be key in case any injuries take down one of the starting three. Cox has a world of talent but has had numerous off-field issues. Holcomb was a small school DB who ruptured his Achilles Tendon in 2011 training camp as a rookie. The team likes his upside, so he'll get plenty of opportunities this summer.
And we still don't know the future of Shawntae Spencer. The cornerback market has just about dried up at this point, so it is entirely possible the 49ers will actually be able to deal Spencer for some kind of draft pick. While teams may figure they can wait for the 49ers to release Spencer, the 49ers could continue hanging on to Spencer. I don't see how there is any way he is on the roster in 2012, but the 49ers are now dealing from a position of significant strength.