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49ers Defense Tightened Up, Time to Focus on Offense

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers gestures during the NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Dylan DeSimoneCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2012

In possibly the organization's strongest offseason move yet, the 49ers were able to keep the entire starting defense from last year, and then some. The 49ers signed former Denver cornerback Perrish Cox to a two-year deal, adding depth to the secondary, and after it looked like he wouldn't be back, San Francisco brought back Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers on a four-year deal.

Before this, the 49ers had placed the franchise tag on Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson and re-signed outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks. There is no question that retaining the 49ers' record-setting defense from 2011 was a dynamite move by the organization. 

However, the offseason is usually for fixing problems, and the defense last year wasn't really a problem. The offense struggled, particularly at the right guard position at times and from the wide receivers. The 49ers were among the league low for receptions by wide receivers in 2011.

To strengthen that position, the 49ers brought in future Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss on a one-year, low risk, high reward deal. The franchise has also been linked to Brandon Lloyd, Laurent Robinson, Chaz Schilens and Mario Manningham.

Manningham is reported to have a visit with the 49ers tomorrow. The former Giant wideout knows San Francisco quite well, having played against them twice in 2011. In those two games, Manningham had 7 catches for 44 yards and two touchdowns. 

The thought of Manningham, or any one of the other receivers San Francisco has been connected with, is not nearly as intriguing as the possibility of Mike Wallace. The price on Wallace may be too high for the 49ers, which could be why there have been no talks as of yet.

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08:  Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws the ball prior to the start of the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

But with such a large crop of unrestricted free agents, no players with a restricted status have been mentioned in the last 48 hours. The 49ers may be doing their due diligence by looking at these wideouts, but no signings are imminent at this point.

San Francisco has also yet to come to an official deal with quarterback Alex Smith. It's peculiar since both sides have said it's as good as done, but they may have yet to ink anything so San Francisco can shop for weapons for Smith. The wide receivers have been going like hotcakes, and it's only a matter of time before the market for UFAs is dried up.

When that happens, if San Francisco has not signed one of the aforementioned receivers, Wallace could still be in play. Because it looks like they are still definitely looking to add more at a position which has only Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and Moss as viable starters.

Follow me on Twitter: @DeSimone80

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