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Are there any free agent cornerbacks the 49ers should take a look at?

Position by position, we’re going to look at the free agents and see if there’s anyone you’d want to throw some money at.

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In some way, shape, or form, the 49ers will need a cornerback in the offseason. Maybe not one to become a starter, but one to push their homegrown developmental prospects for a starting position. Ahkello Witherspoon had his moments, but he also didn’t really have anyone to compete with for 2018 starting spotand that may have contributed to his less than stellar season.

Richard Sherman has one side locked up, that much we do know. The 49ers have Witherspoon and Tarvarius Moore pushing each other and then K’Waun Williams holding down the nickel corner spot.

The 49ers secondary had issues in 2018, but they also have invested a lot of picks into the cornerback position. Spending a boatload of money on a new one may not be the smartest of decisions when you consider the draft picks used, but maybe they can get someone.

So the free agent market has some names. The first one to come up is Jimmie Ward. You know him—he plays for the 49ers. Well, his contract is up and it’s anyone’s guess if the 49ers will re-up. Given his injury history and the fact he began 2018 as a glorified backup, I think Ward is gone, but maybe they can work something out. The benefits of Ward are his familiarity with Saleh’s system. The problem is, he just can’t stay healthy. Ward also could be listed with the safeties, but the original idea at the start of 2018 was for him to go in at nickel corner.

Next up is Steven Nelson from the Kansas City Chiefs. He played 98.8 percent of their defensive snaps last year—so the guy has durability. He also had a solid 2018 season with four interceptions and 58 solo tackles. He also was the most targeted player in the NFL last season which could help when teams lay off of Richard Sherman this year. The only issue really with Nelson is that before 2018, his stats weren’t near as great and he could drop off after this season. The guy will also cost a lot of money to come to San Francisco.

The big name in free agency for cornerbacks is Ronald Darby with the Philadelphia Eagles. His ACL tear in 2018 may make him more affordable, but the bad part of that he had an ACL tear. Cornerback is one of the worst positions to have the injury and it may hinder his speed when he returns. That injury aside, Darby is considered the top cornerback addition in several free agent lists

There’s a lot of names here to consider, but the last one I’ll bring up in particular is Morris Claiborne. Claiborne isn’t a splash signing per-say, but the 49ers could do a lot worse. Given the talent the 49ers have, he could add excellent depth and also light a fire under the younger cornerbacks in a fight for playing time. The question will be how much he costs. Claiborne isn’t great, but he isn’t awful either and several teams may nab him for a starting role.

Here’s the list of the free agent cornerbacks per Over the Cap. Things could change with franchise tags and deals, but all of the below have contracts expiring. Would you be interested in any of these guys coming to Santa Clara?

Free agent cornerbacks

Player Team Age
Player Team Age
Kareem Jackson Texans 31
Brent Grimes Buccaneers 36
Morris Claiborne Jets 29
Buster Skrine Jets 30
Rashaan Melvin Raiders 30
Vontae Davis Bills 31
EJ Gaines Browns 27
Tramaine Brock Broncos 31
Justin Coleman Seahawks 26
Jason McCourty Patriots 32
Kayvon Webster Texans 28
Darqueze Dennard Bengals 28
Jason Verrett Chargers 28
Bryce Callahan Bears 28
Jimmie Ward 49ers 28
Neiko Thorpe Seahawks 29
Pierre Desir Colts 29
Justin Bethel Falcons 29
Bradley Roby Broncos 27
Sam Shields Rams 32
Marcus Cooper Lions 29
Orlando Scandrick Chiefs 32
Marcus Sherels Vikings 32
Coty Sensabaugh Steelers 31
Eric Rowe Patriots 27
Ronald Darby Eagles 25
Leon Hall Raiders 35
Davon House Packers 30
Shareece Wright Texans 32
Bashaud Breeland Packers 27
Blidi Wreh-Wilson Falcons 30
Phillip Gaines Browns 28
B.W. Webb Giants 29
DeShawn Shead Lions 30
Jamar Taylor Broncos 29
Marcus Williams Bears 28
Bene Benwikere Raiders 28
Josh Robinson Saints 28
PJ Williams Saints 26
Steven Nelson Chiefs 26
Troy Hill Rams 28
Tyler Patmon Jaguars 28
Chris Milton Colts 27
Tony Lippett Giants 27
Javien Elliott Buccaneers 26
DeVante Harris Buccaneers 26
Lafayette Pitts Bills 27
Kalan Reed Seahawks 26
Juston Burris Browns 26
Daryl Worley Raiders 24
Stanley Jean-Baptiste Ravens 29
Tye Smith Titans 26
Dexter McDonald Raiders 28
Darryl Roberts Jets 29
Trey Johnson Steelers 25
Jeremy Clark Jets 25
Dominique Hatfield Rams 25
Greg Mabin 49ers 25
Mike Hilton Steelers 25
Akeem King Seahawks 27
Jonathan Jones Patriots 26
Antonio Hamilton Giants 26
Ken Crawley Saints 26
Brian Poole Falcons 27
Trevor Williams Chargers 26
Tony McRae Bengals 26
Marcus Johnson Colts 25
Kevin Peterson Rams 25
Tevin Mitchel Raiders 27