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Bleacher Report names “bargain-bin” CB that should intrigue 49ers

Jul 9, 2024 at 10:43 AM

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Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently highlighted 10 "bargain-bin NFL free agents" who can still make an impact during the upcoming season. The San Francisco 49ers' training camp roster appears to be set for now, while the primary concern is ensuring wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk reports on July 23 amidst ongoing contract extension negotiations.

Aside from this, the 49ers seem satisfied with their current roster. The defense will feature Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, and newcomer Isaac Yiadom at cornerback. The team also used a second-round draft pick to add Renardo Green.

Pro Football Focus recently ranked the 49ers' secondary as the second-best in the NFL, behind only the New York Jets. However, Knox believes San Francisco could further strengthen their unit with a veteran addition, suggesting they consider cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

"The San Francisco 49ers should also take a long look at Gilmore," Knox stated after naming the Kansas City Chiefs as a potential fit. "While San Francisco's defense was quite good last season—it finished third in points allowed—it had its issues against top passers like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow."

Gilmore played last season with the Dallas Cowboys. Although he isn't the player he once was, the 12-year veteran brings valuable experience, having played 94 percent of the Cowboys' defensive snaps in 2023 and starting all 17 games. Gilmore has played over 1,000 snaps in each of his last two seasons.

Knox speculates that Gilmore might accept a lower salary if it means playing for a contender like the 49ers or Chiefs.

"I'm still focused on playing, but it has to be the right opportunity," the 33-year-old Gilmore told Josina Anderson in May. "I feel like it's the age thing with some of these teams. If I was 28, I would already have been signed by now; at the same time, I know the value I still bring. If you watch the tape, I feel like I played well the last two years, and literally almost played every snap last year."

The 49ers may face decisions at cornerback next year, with Ward and Lenoir scheduled to become free agents. Both performed well for the defense last season and will likely seek lucrative deals. San Francisco is in good shape salary-cap-wise entering the 2024 season, but quarterback Brock Purdy's impending deal may lead to tough roster choices.

Gilmore may only become a consideration if the 49ers suffer a setback at cornerback.
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