Wednesday, August 3, 2011

49ers' Roster Starting to Take Shape

The 49ers made some very big signings Wednesday that have shored up a few of their needs. They added the top corner and center on the free agent market, and signed a safety as insurance for Dashon Goldson if they don't re-sign him, which appears to be the case.

The 49ers got their replacement for Nate Clements in the form of Carlos Rogers, who I was pining for once Asomugha, Cromartie and Joseph were swooped up. Rogers was the #9 pick in the 2005 draft by Washington, and although he didn't quite live up to top-10 status with the 'Skins, he's been one of the better cover-man in the league since he's come into the league. I also think a change of scenery is going to work greatly in his favor. He's a much better cover corner than Clements is, and is a better athlete than Nate. Clements played more like a strong safety for the 49ers than the star cornerback he was supposed to be. He made some big tackles and played OK, but was torched way too often and never lived up to the big deal he received. Rogers will undoubtedly supply much better man-coverage, and will be just fine in the run game too which is why I was hoping they'd sign him, and the 49ers made it happen. In addition to Rogers, the 49ers also added former Viking safety Madieu Williams. I don't think Williams is quite as much of a big-play guy like Goldson, but shouldn't be too much of a drop off overall in production. He had a solid 75 tackles with a sack and a pick last season in Minnesota. With Reggie Smith and Taylor Mays both itching for more PT at safety and Williams now in the mix, I doubt the 49ers would bring back Goldson.

The 49ers also sewed up a key part of offensive line Wednesday, signing 2-time pro-bowl center Jonathan Goodwin. I liked David Bass last year at center, but again, I think the 49ers upgraded with this move like they did with Rogers over Clements at corner. Goodwin was a staple for the best offense in the NFC the last few years protecting Drew Brees and helped in making whatever Saints back was carrying the ball, suitable. There was also a lot of buzz Wednesday pertaining to a guy the 49ers could sign who was actually at 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara for a visit. That is pro bowl wideout Braylon Edwards. He's the guy I've been hoping for the 49ers to add on offense who could really make it go. Put Braylon Edwards alongside Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore and Vernon Davis and Alex Smith would have all the weapons he needed. Supposedly Edwards is also at the top of Arizona's radar, so the 49ers could deliver a double-blow to their division mates if they could sign him. I like Josh Morgan, but on a really good team, he's a #3 wideout, and right now with Crabtree shelved, he's the interim #1. The 49ers need a wide receiver, they know it, and their interest in Plaxico Burress, Malcom Floyd and now Braylon Edwards shows us they're serious about adding another target for Alex Smith. Now let's see if they can actually make it happen.

Across the bay, things got real tough for the Raiders Wednesday upon getting news that their top receiver and pro-bowl tight end Zach Miller will play in Seattle this year. Miller signed with the Seahawks and re-united with former coach Tom Cable to really help Seattle's passing game, and dismantle the Raiders'. Now the Raiders really need to up their efforts in order to get Kevin Boss in here, and even he is just a shadow of what Zach Miller is. Again, the Raiders are in a lot tougher position than the 49ers because of their salary cap situation, so it's not as surprising to see them quiet in free agency like it is San Francisco. On a positive note, they did re-sign OLB Kamerion Wimbley, who was a stud for them in his first year with the team last season, to a 5 year deal.

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