The 49ers are slowly getting dipped into the free agency rumor mill as they have been connected with Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith. Matt Maiocco and Matt Barrows both wrote that a league source has told them the 49ers are interested. It remains to be seen if they spoke to the same source or a different source. This followed an Adam Caplan tweet indicating the 49ers were looking to add a veteran cornerback with size.
While Smith appears to be a talented cornerback, he also seems to want highly talented cornerback dollars. My favorite report was that Smith was eager for the start of free agency so he could "get paid". Take that for what you will, but Adam Schefter also indicated Smith could likely end up in the $7 million range once free agency opens. And it does sound like there is a good deal of interest.
If the 49ers did sign Smith, he would be the biggest corner on the roster at 6'3 214 pounds. While there is value to that, the 49ers would have to unload somebody to make this work. My guess is Carlos Rogers would get the axe as he has the most salary cap implications at this point.
I emailed Kevin Nogle from The Phinsider to get his thoughts on Smith. Here's what he had to say:
Smith has been one of the most frustrating players to watch for the Dolphins. One game, he shuts down a great wide receiver, and looks like a Pro Bowler. The next game, he is repeatedly blown past for multiple touchdowns, and he can't stop anyone. That inconsistency is what has led us to the point that the Dolphins are willing to let him walk away.
He has outstanding size (6',3", 220lbs.), and can play with the big receivers well. However, he has hands like stones, dropping potential interception after potential interception. He was a running back in high school and started college as a wide receiver, so you would think he would be able to catch better than he does. He presses well at the line of scrimmage, but if a receiver gets a step on him, it's over. Smith just does not have the closing speed, or the agility, to stay with a quicker, smaller wide receiver.
Smith has potential to develop into something special in the league, but more importantly, he has to be more consistent in his play. He's four years into his NFL career, so it's late to still be having these problems.
Some team will fall in love with Smith, given his size and his great performances, but you can't forget his bad performances too. He's not worth the $8 million per year he is reportedly trying to get, but someone will probably give it to him. He's someone I would like to see back in Miami next year, but that price is too high.
If the 49ers sign Smith, he's probably a number two cornerback who can play against top wide outs and have success some of the time. He could one day be a Pro Bowl type player, if he can put it all together consistently, but you also have to expect there to be games where you are screaming at the TV trying to figure out what exactly Smith is doing out there.