5 Players the San Francisco 49ers Could Bring in Before September

Vincent Frank@VincentFrankNFLCorrespondent IJuly 28, 2013

5 Players the San Francisco 49ers Could Bring in Before September

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    By virtue of what was an odd contractual situation with cornerback Tarell Brown, the San Francisco 49ers saved $2 million against the salary cap this upcoming season, per ESPN.com. 

    According to Overthecap.com, San Francisco now sits nearly $8 million under the cap. 

    This means that it could easily go out there and upgrade at a position or two prior to the start of the regular season. 

    Let's take a look at five players the 49ers could target between now and September. 

    All contract information provided by Spotrac


Laurent Robinson, Wide Receiver

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    2012 Statistics: 24 receptions, 252 yards and zero touchdowns. 

    Laurent Robinson jumped onto the scene during a surprising rookie campaign with the Atlanta Falcons back in 2007. The former third-round pick from Illinois State put up 37 receptions for 437 yards and a score in six starts that season. 

    It seemed like Robinson was well on his way to becoming a fixture in the Falcons offense for years to come. 

    But injuries caught up with the then-young receiver. He missed 10 games the following season and was sent packing as a injury-prone castoff. 

    Robinson caught on with the St. Louis Rams in a trade prior to 2009 but missed 13 games due to injury. 

    In total, Robinson missed 26 games from 2008 to 2010, which marked him as an injury-prone receiver.

    The Cowboys then took a chance on Robinson leading up to the 2011 season, and he took off. In 14 games with Dallas that year, he tallied 858 receiving yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. 

    This enabled Robinson to receive a ridiculous five-year, $32.5 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. 

    Yet again, injuries derailed Robinson's season. He played in only seven games and caught 24 passes before being released back in March. 

    The 28-year-old receiver is now without a team. 

    It wouldn't hurt for San Francisco to bring Robinson in as a training camp receiver and see what he can do. Of course, it all depends on him being 100 percent and ready to go. That's the larger question at this point. 

Mark Anderson, Defensive End

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    2012 Statistics: 10 tackles and one sack. 

    Mark Anderson is just one year removed from a 10-sack performance with the New England Patriots. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Anderson also finished with a positive grade against the run in 2011. 

    This performance enabled Anderson to break the bank big time last offseason, as he signed a four-year, $19.5 million contract with the Buffalo Bills

    To say that Anderson didn't live up to expectations in Upstate New York would be an understatement. He recorded just one sack and was released after his initial season with the Bills. 

    Now a free agent, the 30-year-old defensive end looks to catch on with a team at a time when most rosters have been filled. 

    While there might be an issue as it relates to scheme fit, Anderson would add depth to San Francisco's pass-rushing arsenal. He could fit in as a backup defensive end behind Justin Smith and Ray McDonald if second-round pick Tank Carradine isn't ready to return from an ACL injury. 

    Even if Carradine proves he can make an impact in 2013, Anderson would give San Francisco some sort of insurance behind the rookie. 





Rashean Mathis, Cornerback

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    2012 Statistics: 20 tackles and five passes defended. 

    Rashean Mathis leaves a lot to be desired as it relates to actually staying on the football field. The former Pro Bowl cornerback has played in 21 of a possible 32 games over the past two seasons. At 32 years old, the former Jacksonville Jaguar is also getting up there in age. 

    What he can bring to the table is training camp competition for what has suddenly become a questionable cornerback situation in San Francisco. 

    He also brings a ton of experience and some success to the table. 

    Mathis has recorded 30 career interceptions in 10 NFL seasons and seems to fit San Francisco's scheme to a T. He is a press corner who will get in the face of opposing receivers. 

    At the very least, he could provide the competition San Francisco was looking for when it attempted to acquire Eric Wright from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in July. 

    It's unknown whether San Francisco's flirtation with Wright indicates that Carlos Rogers could be on the way out. The former Pro Bowl cornerback had a down season in 2012 after catching the football world by surprise during a breakout campaign in 2011. 

    Rogers is set to count over $24 million against the cap in the next three seasons. 

    If San Francisco has settled on Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver and newly signed Nnamdi Asomugha as its top-three cornerbacks, there might not be any room for Rogers and his rather expensive contract. 

    That would open the door for Trent Baalke and Co. to bring in a cheaper veteran to fill up the depth chart. 

    Mathis would be a solid and cheap option. 




Options Already Linked to San Francisco

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    Eric Wright, Cornerback

    2012 Statistics: 38 tackles, eight passes defended and one interception. 

    While San Francisco's deal with Tampa Bay for Wright was voided after he failed his physical, there still remains some interest in bringing the enigmatic veteran back to his hometown, per CSN Bay Area. 

    According to the aforementioned report, general manager Trent Baalke had the following to say about Wright's situation. 

    With respect to Eric, there’s always a possibility that he becomes a Niner at some point, it’s just not now. 

    This makes all the sense in the world. As a free agent, Wright wouldn't cost San Francisco the draft pick it yielded to Tampa Bay in the deal. It also indicates that the veteran would come to the 49ers on a cheaper deal, maybe somewhere near the veteran minimum. 

    We shouldn't be too surprised if some news were to break on this front sometime between now and San Francisco's first preseason game. 

    In the opinion of this humble writer, Wright represents the best free-agent option for San Francisco on the cornerback market. 


    Austin Collie, Wide Receiver

    2011 Statistics: 54 receptions, 514 yards and one touchdown (played in one game last year). 

    San Francisco had Collie in for a workout earlier this month but didn't sign the injury-plagued receiver. According to this report from The Sacramento Bee, San Francisco still has its eyes on Collie and could rehash the situation prior to the start of the regular year. 

    Pure conjecture on my part, but head coach Jim Harbaugh may want to check out what he has with youngsters currently on the roster before making a play for this veteran. 

    As it is, Collie has been extremely effective when he's actually on the field during his four-year career. He averaged 57 receptions and over five scores in his first three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts before missing 2012 with a concussion. 

    Overall, Collie has missed 22 of a possible 64 games since joining the NFL back in 2009. 


    Vincent Frank is an NFL featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

    Vincent is the head sports editor at eDraft, co-host of Draft Sports Radio (which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. ET) and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus.