San Francisco 49ers: Champ Bailey

If the San Francisco 49ers want to add a veteran presence at cornerback in light of the Chris Culliver arrest, they might want to act fast.

Carlos Rogers, who the 49ers cut earlier this offseason, signed with the Oakland Raiders on Monday night. The 49ers did not completely close the door on bringing back Rogers, according to a league source, but they didn't make much of a move toward doing so before he signed with the Raiders.

The top veteran available cornerback on the market, Champ Bailey, is taking an undisclosed visit Monday, according the source. The 49ers, who currently have $4.1 million in salary cap room, have not yet shown interest in Bailey.

Bailey could be interesting to the team because they are pretty young at the position and they could use some veteran leadership. Culliver was arrested on felony hit-and-run and weapons possession charges Friday in San Jose. He could face a league suspension.

The 49ers are expected to use a high draft pick on the position.
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.
Last year, the San Francisco 49ers signed Nnamdi Asomugha and toyed with the idea of adding Charles Woodson.

Clearly the team has no problem considering aging defensive backs. That leads me to wonder if, under the right circumstances, if the 49ers will have interest in Champ Bailey.

The future Hall of Fame cornerback was released by the Denver Broncos this week. Bailey, who will turn 36 in June, has said he still wants to play. Even though Bailey is fading, he can still help a team. His play in 2013 was affected by an injury and he performed well in the playoffs. Bailey has also said he wouldn't close the door on playing safety.

I could see the 49ers looking for a veteran defensive back to help as a rotational player on the field. Bailey is a pro’s pro and he would fit beautifully in an already strong San Francisco locker room.

I think Bailey would jump at a chance to play for the 49ers. He will surely want to stay on a contending team. He lives in Orange County, California in the offseason and would likely be open to playing in the state.

I’m not sure this is a situation the 49ers would jump on right away. They may want to see what happens with cornerback Tarell Brown and safety Donte Whitner in free agency before making any other moves with the secondary. But if the 49ers are open to signing an aging star again, there are reasons to think Bailey could fit.

In other 49ers notes:

The 49ers are reportedly putting the low restricted free agency tender on backup defensive lineman DeMarcus Dobbs. That would likely keep him on the team in 2014. He is a solid rotational player.

The league could announce this month who plays the Seattle Seahawks in the season kickoff game at Seattle on Sept. 4. Possible contenders include the 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys.

Receiver Anquan Boldin's salary cap number this season, as part of his new deal, is $3.7 million.

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