Updates from Wednesday, Mar. 12
The 49ers officially announced that they have signed safety Antoine Bathea to a 4-year deal:
The team also announced that it re-signed cornerback Eric Wright to a one-year deal:
The San Francisco 49ers were one Richard Sherman-deflected pass away from reaching the Super Bowl last season, so they may only be a piece or two away from bringing home the Lombardi Trophy in the near future.
Ideally for San Francisco fans, those moves would come in the 2014 offseason.
General manager Trent Baalke isn’t really known as the aggressive type early in the free-agency period, and he will probably look to the draft or for better value players later in the offseason as a reloading strategy.
That doesn’t mean the 49ers haven’t already made some headlines, though.
Anquan Boldin signed a two-year, $12 million contract on March 3 after posting one of the most productive seasons of his career in his first season with San Francisco with 1,179 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 85 catches. He gives a 49ers offense that already features the likes of Frank Gore, Colin Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis another weapon.
On the defensive side of the ball, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports that the 49ers will part ways with Carlos Rogers:
Source: The San Francisco 49ers will indeed cut CB Carlos Rogers allowing him to test the market.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 10, 2014
Rogers is an experienced veteran, so look for the 49ers to attempt to find a replacement in the offseason.
Here is a comprehensive glance at the 49ers’ 2014 free agents:
|Player||Position||2014 Team||Contract Details|
|Donte Whitner||S||Browns||4-year, $28 million|
|Tarell Brown||CB||Raiders||1-year, $3.5 million|
|Phil Dawson||K||49ers||2 years|
|Eric Wright||CB||49ers||1 year|
|Antoine Bethea||S||4 years, $23 million||C+|
|Blaine Gabbert||QB||Acquired via Trade with Jaguars||C|
|Jonathan Martin||OT||Acquired via Trade with Dolphins||B|
|Chris Cook||CB||One-year deal||C|
Information will be updated as official news comes in.
Cornerback: With Rogers officially gone, the 49ers have a glaring need at cornerback that may be priority No. 1 in the offseason.
CBS Sports’ Pat Kirwan shaped his mock draft accordingly, projecting Jason Verrett of TCU as the team’s first-round pick. Other corners that may be available with the No. 30 pick are Bradley Roby of Ohio State, Kyle Fuller of Virginia Tech or possibly even Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State, although he will probably be off the board by then.
If San Francisco wanted to spend some money by going after a big name in the free agency department, Aqib Talib or Alterraun Verner are possibilities. But the team could potentially move up in Round 1 for a top corner or find decent value in the early to mid rounds.
Safety: It may be almost an entirely new defensive backfield next year for the 49ers considering Donte Whitner’s status as a free agent and the flux at corner. The 49ers will miss Whitner’s presence at safety against the run and in space if he goes elsewhere, as he really helped set the tone for their strong defensive unit.
Wide Receiver: Yes, San Francisco brought back Boldin, but Colin Kaepernick could use another weapon to stretch the field. Ideally, any receiver the 49ers bring in would have speed, as Boldin and Crabtree are both solid possession receivers.
Backup Quarterback: Colt McCoy, who is a free agent himself, may have been impressive at Texas, but he leaves something to be desired as an NFL signal-caller. Considering Kaepernick’s tendency to run, the 49ers would feel better if they can secure a backup quarterback in the offseason.
Latest 49ers Free Agency Rumors
Champ Bailey the Mentor
It seems strange that Champ Bailey will be wearing a different uniform than the Denver Broncos gear he always has, but Denver released him for financial purposes earlier in the offseason.
Bill Williamson of ESPN.com discussed the possibility of the future Hall of Famer joining forces with the 49ers:
I could see the 49ers looking for a veteran defensive back to help as a rotational player on the field. Bailey is a pro’s pro and he would fit beautifully in an already strong San Francisco locker room.
I think Bailey would jump at a chance to play for the 49ers. He will surely want to stay on a contending team. He lives in Orange County, California in the offseason and would likely be open to playing in the state.
While Bailey is certainly one of the most decorated corners in the entire league, he isn’t getting any younger. Looking forward, if San Francisco were to make this move it would be something of a stop-gap before a younger cornerback is ready for the spotlight.
It would be surprising if the 49ers didn’t grab a cornerback at some point in the draft.
Wait Until the Draft for a Backup Quarterback
The 49ers certainly are not in the market for drafting one of the splashy quarterback names at the top of the draft board like Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles, but they may try to find one later in the draft instead of focusing on a backup in free agency.
Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports reported that Jim Harbaugh met with Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois and was impressed with what he saw.
The coach also offered some areas that need improvement:
Jim Harbaugh told me on Jimmy Garoppolo: "Quick release, yes, but sometimes too quick. You want to see him go through whole motion." #49ers— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) March 4, 2014
If Harbaugh is meeting with quarterback prospects, don’t be surprised if the 49ers grab a potential backup to Kaepernick in the draft.
Charles Woodson a Fit?
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle discussed the 49ers’ recent tendency to sign aging superstars with mixed results.
One name that came up as a potential short-term answer at safety in 2014 was Charles Woodson:
The eight-time Pro Bowler and 2009 Defensive Player of the Year had a free-agent visit with the 49ers last year after Dashon Goldson signed with Tampa Bay. It’s conceivable they could meet again if Donte Whitner signs elsewhere. Woodson appears to have a little something left: He started 16 games last year and played 1,098 of 1,105 snaps.
Much like Bailey, Woodson would be seen as only a stop-gap, but with the 49ers so close to the Super Bowl last year, he could be a valuable piece in the effort to get over the hump in 2014.
49ers Looking to Add Depth at Running Back?
Frank Gore isn't going anywhere, but his backup in 2014 is far from decided. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reports that they have their sights set on one running back in particular:
Three teams showing interest in RB Toby Gerhart, per source. They are the Niners, Jaguars and Browns.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 12, 2014
Stay tuned as this story is just beginning to develop.
Wednesday, March 12 Update: The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Toby Gerhart to a three-year deal, officially taking him off the table for the 49ers.