49ers Sign Corner Perrish Cox: A Signal That Carlos Rogers Won't Be Back?

Brandon BurnettContributor IIIMarch 13, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 12:  Perrish Cox #32 of the Denver Broncos runs for yardage during the NFL season opener game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers signed cornerback Perrish Cox to a two-year contract on Tuesday afternoon.

The former Denver Broncos' 2010 draft pick sat out all of 2011 after appearing in 15 games for them in his rookie season.

The 6’0”, 198-pound defensive back recorded 58 tackles in 2010 and also saw playing time returning kicks and punts.

There are some character questions with Cox; the 25-year-old was recently acquitted of sexual assault charges as the result of an incident in the fall of 2010.

Here’s what Trent Baalke had to say about the signing during the team's announcement:

"We are pleased to add Perrish to our team. As an organization, from ownership on down, we have done our due diligence and are confident that Perrish will be a positive contributor to the 49ers, as well as our community."

Sounds good to me, Mr. Baalke.

The real question however, is what’s in store for free-agent Carlos Rogers?

The 49ers signed the Pro Bowl corner to a one-year deal in 2011, but he’s now 31 years old and is seeking what will likely be the final long-term deal of his career.

Despite character concerns, Cox could thrive in the right environment, and clearly the 49ers are preparing for Rogers to hit free agency.

Rogers undoubtedly enjoyed the finest season of his NFL career while in San Fran, but the 49ers front office isn’t going to overpay any one player, especially one who’s entering the latter stages of his career.

The team already believes second-year corner Chris Culliver is ready to step up into a starting role, and both Tarell Brown and Tramaine Brock will be on the roster for 2012 as well.

Losing Rogers to free agency would leave the team without a veteran presence at cornerback, but the 49ers have an excellent defensive backs coach in Ed Donatell that would likely make for a smoother transition.

San Francisco could also chase free agents like Brandon Carr or Cortland Finnegan—if they chose to pursue younger options that would still provide equal or greater value than that of Rogers.

As much as I enjoyed watching the Pro Bowl corner thrive in San Francisco, I really don't see Rogers returning for next season.

What do you think?


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