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Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Talent, value and 49ers' approach at corner

By Mike Sando

The San Francisco 49ers realized a terrific return on investment by signing Carlos Rogers to a one-year deal in free agency last offseason.

Rogers put together a Pro Bowl season, positioning himself for a big payday.

The 49ers now have options. They could sign the 30-year-old corner at a premium price. They could seek another bargain at the position. They could try to sign Rogers once the market settles, provided he remains unsigned. They could identify younger talent at the position and proceed accordingly.

The team has already signed former Denver Broncos starter Perrish Cox to a two-year deal. Initial reports are linking the 49ers to former Kansas City cornerback Brandon Carr and Detroit Lions corner Eric Wright in free agency.

It's early and I would caution against making assumptions prematurely. I'll be watching to see how much money the 49ers invest in the position. Their current leadership released Nate Clements and the fat contract Clements signed as a free agent years earlier. That same leadership gave former starter Shawntae Spencer permission to seek a trade. The 49ers used 2011 third- and seventh-round choices on corners.

NFC West teams face a long list of top quarterbacks in 2012. The 49ers are scheduled to go against Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning and Drew Brees.

Purely from a football standpoint, they would likely be best off with Rogers. That doesn't necessarily make him the best value.