Updates from Tuesday, Mar. 11
The 49ers made it official once the new league year began on Tuesday. Carlos Rodgers has been cut:
Josina Anderson of ESPN reported Monday the two sides will part ways, according to a source close to the situation:
Rogers is entering his 10th year in the league after spending the first six seasons with the Washington Redskins. During his three seasons with the Niners, Rogers registered nine interceptions along with 33 total passes defended.
Rotoworld.com shed some light on the cap space that the release of Rogers clears up for San Francisco:
The move creates $5.1 million in cap space, and $6.25 million in real savings. Rogers had started every game for the 49ers since Jim Harbaugh became head coach, but is going on 33, and better in the slot than outside. He'll likely have to settle for a one-year deal worth somewhere between $2-$3 million in free agency.
Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee took a look at the money the Niners will save, but also mentions the fact that they are now limited at the position:
With a market that already includes 2013 Pro Bowlers Alterraun Verner and Aqib Talib, who are 25 and 28 years old respectively, Rogers won't be one of the most coveted defensive backs on the market. But with his veteran leadership proven during his time with the 49ers, he could play a vital role for a young defense.
Though the release of Rogers does show that they are ready to move on without his services, the Niners could be looking to go with a cornerback in the first round. Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports already believed the team would pick up TCU corner Jason Verrett if he's available.
After cutting Rogers, the secondary might not be in complete shambles for the Niners. Donte Whitner, who had one of his best seasons in 2013 with San Francisco, said he hopes to return thanks to fellow safety Eric Reid, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle:
I definitely want to be here. I think we have something special on this defense. Young guy like (rookie) Eric Reid, I like playing with him. I like this secondary and the rest of the guys. I like coming to work. So we’ll see what happens.
The Niners could also look to free agency to lock down the position of shutdown corner. The aforementioned names like Verner and Talib are out there, so San Fran might have their sights set on one of them, though they will likely command competitive money.
Regardless of where San Francisco ultimately decides to look in replacing Rogers, the cornerback spot is certainly a position of need.
With a long offseason still ahead of them and Rogers' contract off the budget, the Niners now have options to look at before the 2014 season begins. And while Rogers was helpful in returning San Francisco to prominence, he will now have to find a new home during free agency.