Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
If the 49ers are going to sign any cornerbacks in free agency, they’ll be looking for rentals.
Brent Grimes, Miami Dolphins
Former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes has had an outstanding season with the Miami Dolphins.
He’s done everything and then some to earn a new deal with the team, which he may wind up getting in the offseason. That being said, cornerbacks have not commanded a lot of money on the open market recently.
Since that is the way it has been trending, and seeing as how coach Joe Philbin is not eager to shell out big deals, there is a chance Grimes is lowballed and looks for okay money for a contender. After all, he is 30 years old. If the 49ers can pick him up for a year, they should.
Tracy Porter, Oakland Raiders
27-year-old Tracy Porter is set to be a free agent, and since his career has already seen him become a bit of a journeyman, he might not mind signing a deal with a contender after playing 2013 with the Oakland Raiders.
Not to mention, moving just across the bay wouldn’t be too much of a hassle either.
As a route-jumper, Porter would complement the technicians the 49ers currently have at the cornerback position.
Infusing a little more playmaking ability into that secondary is just the kind of impetus they need going forward. On top of which, the pick-six machine can become a more sound player under secondary coach Ed Donatell and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts
Much like his brother, it was a bit of a slow start to his career.
But since being acquired by the Indianapolis Colts, Vontae Davis has really come into his own. Whether or not the Colts prioritize his retention is a mystery, but if they don’t, this is another avenue the 49ers can take to shore up the position.
If Davis has any desire to join his brother’s team and fill a need on a contender, he can sign with the 49ers as a third or fourth CB.
He won’t be an upgrade from Tarell Brown, he is not better than Tramaine Brock and it’s also probable that Eric Wright returns next year to some capacity.
This is unlikely but interesting in theory.
Brandon Browner, Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks corner Brandon Browner will be 30 years old in 2014, which is even when two-time All-Pro Nnamdi Asomugha fell off.
It’s a tough position to play well late in one’s career. Nevertheless, we’ve seen Browner play much better football recently, so there is no reason to believe he’s done yet.
But there might not be a ton of takers for Browner as far as giving him the type of free-agent money he’d like to see as a Pro Bowler.
On top of his age, he was suspended in 2012 for violating the league’s performance drug policy and is currently being reviewed for another drug-related allegation, which he is appealing.
If Seattle doesn’t bring him back for whatever reason, the 49ers should weasel in and see if they can get Browner at a premium. Baptize this guy in red and gold.
At 6’4”, 221 pounds, he is a big physical cornerback that can not only take away a wide receiver, but also make plays on the ball.
In the past three seasons, Browner has amassed 10 interceptions and set an NFL record in return yards in a single season with 220 back in 2011.
Other Draft Fits/Lower-Tier Free Agents
Zack Bowman, Corey Graham and Quentin Jammer, as well as Loucheiz Purifoy (Florida), Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) and Marcus Roberson (Florida).