The Carolina Panthers announced this morning that they signed former 49ers safety Reggie Smith. The 49ers and Smith more or less agreed to part ways shortly after the season ended. Given how long it was taking for Smith to find a deal, I half expected him to re-sign at some point on a one-year deal. Instead he is now heading east for the 2012 season.
The 49ers are settled at the starting safety positions, with Dashon Goldson starting at free safety (pending him signing his tender or working out a long-term deal) and Donte Whitner locked in at strong safety. C.J. Spillman is currently the primary backup safety. Colin Jones is listed as a safety, but is almost exclusively a special teamer, and Mark LeGree is a potential practice squad candidate at best for now. The 49ers could still bring back Madieu Williams, who got some time at free safety, but there is nothing to indicate he will be back.
The hubbub in the media seems to indicate the 49ers and Goldson are trying to get a long-term deal worked out. If the 49ers are able to lock up Goldson long term, the safety position is not exactly a long term concern. Rather, the team will likely be looking for some depth options, which would seem to infer a mid to late round draft pick at best.
One reason this move is pertinent is for the purpose of 2013 NFL Draft comp picks. The 49ers have signed three outside free agents (Jacobs, Moss and Cox were all released, so he doesn't count towards the count) and have now had four of their free agents sign elsewhere (Snyder, Costanzo, Morgan, R. Smith - Spencer was released, so he doesn't count towards the count).