One of the big unknowns for the San Francisco 49ers this off-season was their strategy for retaining Carlos Rogers, a valuable and key contributor in Vic Fangio's 3-4 trap defense. Initially a band-aid for a supposed rebuilding season, Rogers signed a humble contract with the storied west coast franchise for a chance to play cornerback in a off-season-less league. Statistically, Rogers co-lead the 49ers with 6 INTs, and led the 49er CBs with 41 solo tackles. Though, the 49ers would love to hold on to Rogers, the static salary cap and the demand for productive defensive backs along with Rogers age (31 years old) have resulted in the CB being a potential free agent come 1pm PST on March 13th, 2012. There is a strong possibility that Rogers will not return to San Francisco wearing red and gold. As a result of this, below is a list of free agent CBs to keep an eye on.
Note: Aside from the big name CBs, I've also put asterisk next to individuals that would fit SF's defensive scheme.
Name, Age, Height, Weight, 2011 Team
Lardarius Webb 25 5'10" 182 Baltimore Ravens
Webb will most likely be tendered by the Ravens.
Brandon Carr 26 6'0" 207 Kansas City Chiefs
He will be the most sought after CB in Free Agency due to his production and young age. KC signed Stanford Routt earlier this season thus parting ways with Carr. Carr, who is excellent in bump and run coverage, will commend a big pay check in the offseason after signing a first round tender with KC in 2011. In his first 4 years with the Chiefs, Carr accumulated only ~$3.4M in total salary.
Cortland Finnegan 28 5'10" 188 Tennessee Titans
Cortland will be a hot commodity in FA. It has been reported that Cortland is actively recruiting Vincent Jackson to join him in this offseason journey in the hopes that teams will sign them both as part of a package deal.
Carlos Rogers 31 6'0" 192 San Francisco 49ers
Carlos is requesting 1 more big paycheck, before his age catches up with him. SF is letting him test the market.
Richard Marshall* 27 5'11" 198 Arizona Cardinals
Appears that he may end up being a more experienced Greg Toler. A physical player with good ball skills and even better tackler. He can trainsition between S and CB. Cardinals have made Richard a priority in the resigning period.
Tracy Porter 26 5'11" 186 New Orlean Saints
A very good football player. Known for his pick 6 in superbowl 41. His production has dropped since the 2009 year. Much of his credit is due to the blitz happy scheme ran by the NO defense. He is a 2nd CB at best.
William Middleton 26 5'11" 194 Jacksonville Jaguars
He will probably be resigned by the Jaguars. He was excellent when asked to replace injured Rasheen Mathis and Derek Cox.
Terrell Thomas 27 6'0" 191 New Yorik Giants
Terrell is likely to be resigned by the NY Giants to a short term contract. He's coming off an ACL injury in 2011.
Jason Allen* 29 6'1" 204 Houston Texans
Jason rotated with Kareem Jackson (former 1st round pick) in Houston. Jason made several key game-changing plays, but has also struggled to be consistent on defense. Allen is arguably a better CB than Kareem Jackson, but his age gave him the boot in Houston.
Greg Toler 27 6'0" 192 Arizona Cardinals
Toler, a physical CB playing on nickel downs, is coming off ACL tear in 2011. The Cardinals have tagged him with an original round tender (4th round).
Aaron Ross 29 6'0" 190 New Yorik Giants
A dissappointment in NYG for a first round pick. Started only 41 games in 5 seasons and struggled to break in to the starting lineup this past season. It appears he's asking for lots of money after being a "starter" in the superbowl. The Giants are content letting him leave.
William Gay 27 5'10" 190 Pittsburg Steelers
A good nickle CB with good toughness and fundamental tackling. His weakness is his coverage skills. In Lebeau's blitzing defense, the ability to cover man-to man is paramount. Given the 2 new 2011 draft picks CB Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen and their appearance to have more prominent roles in 2012, William Gay will be a backup at best.
Cary Williams* 27 6'1" 190 Baltimore Ravens
Expect the ravens to give Williams a 1st round tender.
Chris Carr 29 5'10" 182 Baltimore Ravens
Was a 4th CB in the baltimore ravens CB-rich defense. Stats dropped significantly due to lingering hamstring injury that cost him lots of playing time. He will be a dependable backup and potentially a 2nd CB if he can get back to his 2010 form. He was excellent against the run when healthy.
Perrish Cox 25 5'11" 195 Denver Broncos
Cox has too much off the field issues, and similar to Pacman Jones will be a PR disaster for any team. He was just acquitted of sexual assault and there's no telling what type of shape he is in. What he does have going for him is his young age. Cox has the potential to be a dependable #2 CB should he shake off his off-the-field shananigans.
Marcus Trufant 31 5'11" 197 Seattle Seahawks
Trufant was released by Seattle, following a season where he played in only 4 games. He was placed on IR due to lingering back injuries. Currently, the medical assessment is that he is able to to play. He was due 7 Million in 2012, but finances were not the reason for his release. Seattle has a few young guns at the CB position that they trust.
Dimitri Patterson 29 5'10" 200 Cleveland Browns
Patterson was a nickleback in the injury-infested Brown secondary. At best, patterson will be a rotational CB. It sounds like cleveland wants to retain their guys, but the players want to test the free agent market.
Corey Graham* 27 6'0" 196 Chicago Bears
He is an excellent Special Teams player, probowling as a ST'er in 2010. When given the oppportunity to play CB on nickle downs, he intercepted passes in 3 consecutive games. Chicago has expressed the desire to resign him once free agency starts.
Keenan Lewis 26 6'0" 208 Pittsburg Steelers
He played outside CB in the nickle and dime packages. The Steelers are expected to tender him.
Will Allen 34 5'10" 195 Miami Dolphins
Played well in the 2nd half of Miami's season after shaking off some rust early on. Allen has had histories of knee injuries and is getting old.
Jacob Lacy 25 5'10" 177 Indianapolis Colts
Had an up and down season on the colts starting lineup, but played well at the end of the season. There's a chance he will get tendered and play CB on nickle downs.
Benny Sapp 31 5'10" 190 Minnesota Vikings
Remembered for his blown coverage against Wes Welker in a 99 yard TD pass on MNF, Benny Sapp ended the season playing for the Vikings. He was a dependable replacement for the Vikings injury-plagued secondary. He plays better in the vikings system and will likely be brought back for depth at CB.
Jarrett Bush 28 6'0" 200 Green Bay Packers
Jarrett Bush keeps finding his way back on the field despite inconsistent gameplay. There's speculation that Bush has lived out his time as a Packer.
Alan Ball 27 6'2" 197 Dallas Cowboys
Ball is ikely to be cut in a secondary that is undergoing surgery. Poor in coverage and woeful in tackling game will result in an easy decision for the Dallas Cowboys..
Marquice Cole 28 5'10" 192 New York Jets
Cole was listed as the #5 CB on the team and is mostly a spectial teams ace. His CB abilities are little known due to depth and talent on the NY Jets.
Kelly Jennings 29 5'11" 180 Cincinnati Bengals
Jennings was not very good in coverage, allowing a high percentage of pass completions in his direction during his time in Cincinnatti. Jennings will be a backup CB at best.
Eric Wright 27 5'10" 190 Detroit Lions
Lions working on a deal with Wright to keep him off the Free Agent market and in Detroit. He started in all 16 games for the Lions and was the best CB they had on the roster.
Lito Sheppard 31 5'10" 194 Oakland Raiders
Lito struggled to stay healthy and could not break into lineups in 2011. His best days were with philadelphia and he has bounced around the league after his tenure in the city of brotherly love. He is getting older and did a good job filling in for injured CB Stanford Routt during his time in Oakland, but is uncertain whether he will return.
Elbert Mack* 26 5'10" 175 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mack was able to show some abilities in playing on dime packages as a Buccaneer. He will be a nickle CB at best though he did boast decent stats for his role gathering 2 INTs with minimal playing time.
Rod Hood 30 5'11" 201 St.Louis Rams
Rod played in 297 snaps vs Justin King who took 727 snaps for the Rams in 2011. Rod was a nickle corner who became a starter when Justin King attained a shoulder injury and needed to undergo season ending surgery. Rod is a physical CB with ok coverage skills. His age is the big question mark in the off-season.
Antwaun Molden 27 6'1" 198 New England Patriots
Molden struggled to impress in Houston after being drafted and was claimed off waivers by the NE Patriots. He struggled to beat out WR Julian Edelman as a nickel CB.
Justin King 25 5'11" 197 St.Louis Rams
Justin King was beat several times this year as a Ram. Statistically, he is considered one of the worst NFL CBs in the league.
Travis Daniels 29 6'1" 195 Kansas City Chiefs
Daniels appears to be returning to KC.
Bryant McFadden 30 6'0" 190 Pittsburg Steelers
Released by Pittsburg in Feb 2011 after a season where he sustained a hamstring injury that led to the loss of his role as the starting and, later on, nickel CB.
Domonique Foxworth 29 5'11" 180 Baltimore Ravens
Coming off a 2010 ACL injury, Foxworth struggled to be productive in the NFL participating in only 2 games with little impacton Baltimore's defense. Foxworth had his best season in 2009 where he had 4 INTs and 48 solo tackles.
Roy Lewis 27 5'10" 190 Seattle Seahawks
Roy Lewis will be at best a backup to the nickel position. He has made some plays for the seahwaks, but is not a starter by any means.
Zachary Bowman 27 6'1" 196 Chicago Bears
Bowman played well and stole the CB job from Nathan Vasher in 2009. Zach Bowman was benched one sept 28 in the GB game after being torched by rodgers on several occasions. That plus poor tackling lost him his job to Tim Jennings in 2010. He needs better tackling and zone coverage, but is excellent in man coverage and has excellent ball skills. He was responsible for coverage against Demaryious Thomas that allowed for Denver to cut lead to 7-10 in one of Tebow's comeback victories this past year.
Ronde Barber 37 5'10" 184 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Barber's decision to return to football is undetermined at this point. If he does return TB has expressed interest in retaining the old veteran.
Pacman Jones 28 5'10" 188 Cincinnati Bengals
Pacman Jones has a lot of off-the-field baggage and is a PR risk for any organization. If he can return to his rookie form, he can be a viable option as a #2 CB. There's no indication he will return to Cincinnatti in 2012.
Will Blackmon 27 6'0" 210 New York Giants
Blackmon was on and off as a a special teams player for the Giants this past season.
Nate Jones 30 5'10" 185 New England Patriots
Nate was brought in as a nickel corner mid way through the season for the Patriots. He was adequate at best. Patriots were among the league's worst in pass defense.
Patrick Lee 28 6'0" 196 Green Bay Packers
Patrick Lee was a disappointment in GB struggling to crack GB's CB rotation in 2011.
Kelvin Hayden* 29 6'0" 195 Atlanta Falcons
Played well in the nickel role during his time in Atlanta. There's already interest from Chicago for his services.
Donald Strickland 31 5'10" 185 New York Jets
Strickland was the 5th CB on the NY Jets roster and was more of a ST player.
Jonathan Wilhite 28 5'11" 185 Denver Broncos
Wilhite was inconcsistent with the broncos, making some good plays early in the season, but the remainder of the NFL season resulted in only 3 tackles. He was a 3rd CB in denver's defense at best.
Michael Coe 28 6'0" 187 New York Giants
A special teams player that struggled to make a big imprint on Giants.
Frank Walker 31 5'11" 200 Dallas Cowboys
Frank played well as a nickelback for the Cowboys and is an individual worth keeping in Dallas. He will play no better than a nickelback on any other team.
Brandon McDonald 27 5'10" 185 Detroit Lions
McDonald was unable to break the starting lineup for the Detroit Lions.
Leigh Torrence 30 5'11" 179 New Orlean Saints
A nickleback on the Saints and is at best a nickle back on any other teams.
Cletis Gordon 29 6'1" 212 Carolina Panthers
Gordon did not make a name for himself in Carolina and will likely not return.