NFC West: Adam Vinatieri

Free agency starts at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) Tuesday.

It is clear the San Francisco 49ers' plan of attack will be to sign their own top free agents. They secured their top free-agent priority, receiver Anquan Boldin, last week. Their other targets are safety Donte Whitner, cornerback Tarell Brown and kicker Phil Dawson. Dawson and Brown both may get quick action on the open market.

If any of these players leave, the 49ers will likely have to go find a replacement in some form. Let’s take a look at who they may be:

Safety

Possible free-agent options: Mike Mitchell (Panthers), Malcolm Jenkins (Saints), James Ihedigbo (Ravens).

Summary: The free-agent market is thin, and, in my opinion, signing Whitner is, by far, the best option. If not, one of the above-mentioned players could be a suitable, but not equal signing. If Whitner’s market doesn’t get crazy, the 49ers need to try to keep him. In-house potential replacements are C.J. Spillman and Craig Dahl, but neither are considered top options.

Cornerback

Possible free-agent options: Nolan Carroll (Dolphins), Antonio Cromartie (released by Jets), Champ Bailey (released by Broncos), Walter Thurmond (Seahawks), Asante Samuel (released by Falcons), Antoine Cason (Cardinals), Charles Tillman (Bears), Captain Munnerlyn (Panthers).

Summary: Replacing Brown may be easier than replacing Whitner. There are a ton of decent cornerbacks. Carroll is one of the players the 49ers have checked in on. If the 49ers lose Brown, they could wait out the market and get a decent player or two here. A wild card could be Darrelle Revis, who reportedly either is going to be traded or released, as soon as this week, by Tampa Bay. He will likely be pricey but if something crazy happens, perhaps the 49ers could get involved.

Kicker

Possible free-agent options: Steven Hauschka (Seahawks), Adam Vinatieri (Colts), Josh Brown (Giants), Dan Carpenter (Bills).

Summary: There are some decent kickers available, but I think Dawson is the best fit and I expect him to be back. If not, any of these kickers could be the fix. Just a guess, but I don’t think it gets to that point.

Silver linings: 49ers vs. Ravens

February, 8, 2013
2/08/13
1:15
PM ET
Thanks to those who reminded me to produce a "Silver linings" file following the Super Bowl. It's taken most of the week, but here goes.

The facts: The San Francisco 49ers suffered a 34-31 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.
  • The 49ers became the first team in Super Bowl history to have a 300-yard passer (Colin Kaepernick), 100-yard rusher (Frank Gore) and two 100-yard receivers (Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis).
  • Kicker David Akers, beneficiary of a running-into-the-kicker penalty, made all three field-goal attempts after entering the game as a perceived liability. Akers trails only Adam Vinatieri for postseason points.
  • Gore's 110 yards rushing set a 49ers Super Bowl record. Roger Craig once had 74 yards rushing in a 49ers Super Bowl. Gore's 33-yard run in the fourth quarter was one of the game's most pivotal plays.
  • Davis' 104 yards receiving tied a Super Bowl record for tight ends. This was Davis' fourth career 100-yard receiving game in the postseason, tied with Keith Jackson for most in NFL history. Davis and Larry Fitzgerald are the only players in league history with four 100-yard receiving performances in their first five career postseason games.
  • Ray McDonald and Ahmad Brooks sacked Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
  • Cornerback Tarell Brown forced and recovered a key fumble from Ravens running back Ray Rice.
  • The 49ers outscored the Ravens by a 25-6 margin after allowing a kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half.
  • Kaepernick's 15-yard touchdown run was the longest by a quarterback in Super Bowl history.
  • The 49ers held Rice and Bernard Pierce below 3.0 yards per rushing attempt.
  • Ted Ginn Jr. had a 32-yard punt return to the Baltimore 20-yard line, setting up a two-play touchdown drive as the 49ers pulled within 28-20.
Looking ahead: The 49ers hold the 31st pick of the 2013 NFL draft.
MIAMI -- A recent brainstorming session with AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky was highly productive.

Paul pointed me in the direction of a Super Bowl production featuring many of the key players here in South Florida.

Cue the video.

Adam Vinatieri's part was my favorite for some reason.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Thirty-five points from the 49ers' defense and 45 more from the Colts' Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and Adam Vinatieri against Seattle helped warrad79 outscore the NFC West Gridiron Challenge field in Week 4.

Well down the standings, I manged to nudge past my wife after she thankfully failed to realize Larry Fitzgerald and DeAngelo Williams had bye weeks.
Rank NFC West Gridiron Challenge Overall Standings
Fantasy Points Percentile
1 rockandema
589 100.0
2 J MacKay
561 100.0
3 kckshrugged 554 99.9
4 Kramer358
550 99.9
5 Running for the Gold 549 99.9
6 qwerdxzas99
543 99.9
6
MOErs
543 99.9
8
Swag King
541 99.8
8 JohnPrice
541 99.8
10 nealcsprong 538 99.8
1099 Mike Sando
412 56.3
1322 sandowife
393 43.9

Back to warrad79. Check out this lineup for Week 4 (points in parentheses):
For the season, warrad79 has one more point than me even though he didn't compete in Week 1. No mercy.

The chart shows overall leaders through Week 4, plus a couple of stragglers. rockandema remained in first place, impressive this early in the season. kckshruged remained third. nealcsprong dropped from fourth to 10th. About 2,000 people signed up and all but a few hundred appear to be competing some or all of the time.

Check out the high scores for Week 4. Nine of the top 10 started the 49ers' defense. I didn't have the cap room, so I went with the old WIPTR theory (Whoever Is Playing The Raiders). The Texans' defense scored 26 of my 106 points.

Funny team name of the week unless you are Billy Devaney: Incognito's Temper

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider

NFC WEST SCOREBOARD