NFL free agency is a little over two weeks away, and one market that could be particularly robust is the cornerback position. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun is reporting the limited amount of talent could result in an inflated market. There is talent on the market, but his source believes the supply is sufficiently limited to result in some contract inflation.
Byron Maxwell (Seahawks) is viewed by many as one of the top cornerbacks on the market. Tony Pauline reported he was hearing Maxwell could earn as much as $10 million. Wilson's article above suggested $8 million to $10 million for Maxwell. Wilson then listed Kareem Jackson (Texans), Brandon Flowers (Chargers), Buster Skrine (Browns) and the Davon House (Packers), and suggested they could find themselves getting $5 million to $7 million annually.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons have both been connected to Maxwell, and I have to think that market will only grow in the coming weeks. Once the big names are quickly gone, it potentially opens the door for Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox to find themselves nice little deals. They won't be getting top end money, but they could end up with inflated contract options thanks to the fairly limited market.
Of course, both Culliver and Cox have reasons for teams to have second thoughts. Culliver bounced back from a 2013 ACL tear to have a very solid 2014. However, he faces an unresolved felony brass knuckles possession case. I don't think that would shut down his chances at a multi-year deal, but I would imagine it is at least on the radar. Cox on the other hand started strong, but had some hiccups later in the year. Prior to that he had been under the radar in San Francisco, serving primarily as a dime back and on special teams. Some might view him as a bit of a one-year wonder.
All that being said, it does only take one team willing to make that sizable multi-year offer. I could see the 49ers re-signing one of these two, but even that is far from a sure thing. The 49ers have some intriguing young options at cornerback. Tramaine Brock and Dontae Johnson would likely be the starting outside cornerbacks in 2015, with Keith Reaser, Kenneth Acker, Marcus Cromartie, Cameron Fuller, Leon McFadden and others competing for opportunities. There are a lot of question marks in that group, so the team still could invest in a veteran cornerback.