It sure didn't take NFL's free agency period doesn't start for another 3 weeks, but the first relevant preliminary deal was announced Monday, as former Raider corner, Stanford Routt, found a new home in Kansas City where he'll likely play opposite of all-pro Brandon Flowers.
Now, on the surface, this deal doesn't seem to effect the 49ers too much, but it certainly does. They want all-pro corner Carlos Rogers back, but with numbers that are being tossed out for premium corners these days it's going to be a tough task. Coupled with the fact that the CB free agent class is thin and the 49ers just lost out on a very capable replacement in Routt, the one guy I was just about to writer about as being a possible replacement for Rogers. I don't blame the 49ers for not wanting to give Rogers some 5 year/$55 million deal or whatever he's seeking. I mean, before 2011, he had a hard time finding a team who would take him on as a starting CB until the 49ers missed out on all their other, higher up choices, and settled for the 30 year-old. That's another thing with Rogers, is that he's not a spring chicken and plays a position that demands the quickest players in the league, so giving him a huge deal may not be the smartest thing in the world. I'd give him big money for 2-3 years, but no longer. Even if Rogers returned, the 49ers would still be in need of at least one more, NFL-caliber corner. The one corner I really like, maybe more so than even Rogers is Brandon Carr who can really shut down big-time wideouts and has more speed than Rogers. He was also overshadowed a bit in KC by Flowers, but he was just about as good. Also with Routt headed to KC, it likely leaves Carr looking for a new place to call home. The 49ers really need to end up with either Carr, Grimes, re-sign Rogers or make a push for Cortland Finnegan! Then on top of that, get themselves an Aaron Ross, Tracy Porter or some legit CB 2 they can move Tarrell Brown to the slot and really improve that nickle and dime pass defense!
As far as their other big two FA's, the 49ers are expected to use their franchise tag on DaShon Goldson, which would be a wise move. They cannot let that guy leave town as he's an exemplary as to what that defense has become. As important as Willis, Bowman and the Smith's are, Goldson is the center fielder and the "big-play saver" and "big-play maker"! So whatever they have to do to keep him in the Red and Gold, they must. As for Alex Smith, people are making it sound like he's assuredly returning, and I wouldn't argue with that, but there's another very talented QB out there on the market who, if Smith bolts, I wouldn't mind seeing the 49ers entertain. That is Jason Campbell, who I think is a better QB than Alex, but just not sure on his health.
As for the wideouts, that is the one position where the 49ers should probably need the most help, and luckily for them, it's the deepest position in the draft and free agency. They probably don't have the capital to bring in a top corner like Rogers and a top WR like Vincent Jackson or Dwayne Bowe, but they may just surprise us. If not a huge name like Bowe, Colston, Wallace or Jackson, there are some others who should help, with my first choice going to SF native Stevie Johnson who seems to want out of Buffalo. Johnson just keeps putting up numbers, no matter who's throwing it to him and is a tough player who plays through injury! Also, Mario Manningham, Jerome Simpson or even the vet, Reggie Wayne, would all be welcome additions to the 49ers receiving corps. The thing is, the 49ers don't just need one guy. They need at least two guys who can come in and really help right away. They could get one of those guys in the draft in round one (as there are five first round WR's in this draft) or, more likely, they have to sign them. The 49ers haven't had success with WR's in the draft in years, and even Crabtree hasn't lived up to his potential yet, so I'd stay away from WR's in round one if I'm the 49ers and draft an impact defensive back!
The big name that was tossed out on KNBR Tuesday that Larry Kruegar suggested, and an idea I really like, would be to try and swipe Mike Wallace out from Pittsburgh, where he's a restricted FA, which in turn would provide Pitt. with the Niners first rounder (because of Wallace's status). I don't think your going to find a talent like Mike Wallace at pick 30, so I'd jump all over that! The guy has decent size, great hands, can run routes with the best of 'em and can out-run most DB's in the NFL. He's a true game changer and a big reason why the Steelers have had so much offensive success the last few seasons!