San Francisco 49ers: Eric Wright

The San Francisco 49ers have filled their 90-man roster by re-signing guard Al Netter on Monday.

Netter, who was released earlier this offseason, was on the 49ers' practice squad for all of the 2012 season and for the final three months of last season. He will compete for a roster spot in training camp.

The 49ers had an opening on the roster because of cornerback Eric Wright's recent retirement.
Update: The 49ers have officially announced Wright’s retirement. He said in a statement he lost the passion for the game.

The decision by Eric Wright to not attend minicamp likely won't affect the San Francisco 49ers too much, even though the cornerback position is one of great flux.

Wright
Wright, who is considering retirement, would likely be a rotational player anyhow. It was a bit of a surprise when the 49ers re-signed Wright to a low one-year deal in March. He only played in seven games last season, and it appeared the 49ers' coaching staff didn't have much trust in him down the stretch.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said on Tuesday that he thought Wright was heading toward retirement, and the seven-year veteran wasn't present as the team opened its mandatory minicamp.

The 49ers have several cornerbacks vying to make the team and Wright was one of them. Again, he wasn't expected to be a core player. His absence gives players such as Darryl Morris, Perrish Cox and rookie Ken Acker a better chance of getting valuable reps in during minicamp and training camp.

The 49ers could also add on a player at the spot, as well. Harbaugh wouldn't comment on whether the team had interest in Brandon Flowers, who was recently cut by Kansas City. As is policy, Harbaugh wouldn't bite.

Flowers is a fine player, but I'm not sure the 49ers want to spend what it would take to get him. Plus, Flowers is 5-foot-9 and the 49ers are moving toward bigger cornerbacks.
There's little doubt the San Francisco 49ers' biggest question area is at cornerback because of all the flux this offseason.

So the fact two veteran cornerbacks were released Friday can't go unnoticed. Kansas City cut Brandon Flowers and Detroit jettisoned Chris Houston. Flowers is likely more intriguing because he has been the better player, while Houston is coming off an injury.
Flowers
Could the 49ers make a run at Flowers?

Ultimately, I'd expect Flowers to get a better deal elsewhere. But I could see the 49ers considering the idea. They have some salary cap room and as previously mentioned, there are questions at the position.

Still, a pursuit of Flowers wouldn't necessarily be a certainty. Flowers is 5-foot-9 and the 49ers are trying to get bigger and more physical at the position. Plus, even though the 49ers have questions at cornerback, there are pretty full there.

Chris Culliver, coming off a torn ACL, is expected to start opposite Tramaine Brock after Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers departed this offseason. First-round pick Jimmie Ward will play the nickel cornerback. The 49ers also have veteran Chris Cook, Eric Wright and Perrish Cox and drafted three rookie cornerback (one, Keith Reaser, is not play because of an injury).

If the 49ers are nervous about what they've seen so far in the offsason they could make a run at Flowers, but I'm not sure they will think it's worth the financial investment.
With organized team activities in full swing for the San Francisco 49ers, the biggest on-field question the team must answer is at cornerback.

The team is undergoing a major transformation at the position. Two of their top three cornerbacks last season -- Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown -- departed this offseason. Rogers was cut and Brown left in free agency. Both signed are now with Oakland.

Tramaine Brock, who was superb last season after starting camp as a special teamer, has emerged as the team's best cornerback. Chris Culliver, who could be subject to an NFL suspension after a felony arrest this offseason, is set to start. He played well in 2012, but missed all of last season with a torn ACL.

Rookie Jimmie Ward, the team's first-round pick, is a safety, but he will play the nickel cornerback spot this year. He has experience there. Veterans Eric Wright and newly signed Chris Cook and second-year player Darryl Morris are among those who also have a chance at playing time. ESPN's Matt Williamson believes Cook, a former second-round pick who failed to live up to expectations with the Vikings, can improve as a 49er. He is big and physical and a good fit for the defense.

While there are question marks, the truth is, the 49ers were looking to move away from Rogers and Brown and think this can be an upgraded spot. The 49ers are very confident with their defensive coaching staff. Brock developed quickly and their cornerbacks this year can thrive as well.

In the long-term, this position is still a work in progress. Culliver is a free agent after the season and Ward is a long-term safety. The 49ers will likely add to this position next year and hope recent draft picks, Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser and Ken Acker can help next year. Johnson could even figure in this year's plan.

Again, this position will be a storyline all summer, but the 49ers are comfortable with it at this point.
As training camp creeps closer, let’s take a look at what has gone on so far with the 49ers this offseason:

Returning free agents: Receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Eric Wright, receiver Kassim Osgood, cornerback Perrish Cox.

2015 free agents extended: Center Daniel Kilgore, fullback Bruce Miller.

Departed free agents: Safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland), cornerback Tarell Brown (Oakland), running back Anthony Dixon (Buffalo), receiver Mario Manningham (Giants), quarterback Colt McCoy (Redskins), center Jonathan Goodwin (Saints).

Released: Cornerback Carlos Rogers. He signed with Oakland.

Free-agent additions: Safety Antoine Bethea (Colts), cornerback Chris Cook (Vikings), receiver Brandon Lloyd (last with Patriots in 2012), quarterback Josh Johnson (released by Cincinnati), linebacker Blake Costanzo (Bears).

Acquired in trade: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jaguars; tackle Jonathan Martin from Miami, receiver Stevie Johnson from Buffalo.

Starting lineup changes: Bethea for Whitner; likely Kilgore for Goodwin, Chris Culliver for Brown.

Updated offseason scorecard

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
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Free agency continues and the San Francisco 49ers have been busy making roster changes. Let’s take a look at what has gone on so far:

Returning free agents: Receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Eric Wright, receiver Kassim Osgood, cornerback Perrish Cox.

2015 free agents extended: Center Daniel Kilgore, fullback Bruce Miller.

Departed free agents: Safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland), cornerback Tarell Brown (Oakland), running back Anthony Dixon (Buffalo), receiver Mario Manningham (Giants), quarterback Colt McCoy (Redskins).

Released: Cornerback Carlos Rogers. He signed with Oakland.

Free agent addition: Safety Antoine Bethea (Colts), Cornerback Chris Cook (Vikings), Receiver Brandon Lloyd (last with Patriots in 2012).

Acquired in trade: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jaguars; tackle Jonathan Martin from Miami.

Reportedly interested in: Receiver Josh Morgan (Washington free agent), but there hasn’t been any movement in the past several weeks, and the Lloyd signing likely ends any Morgan thoughts.

Remaining free agent: Center Jonathan Goodwin.

Starting lineup changes: Bethea for Whitner; likely Kilgore for Goodwin, Chris Culliver or upcoming draft pick for Brown.
Free agency continues and the San Francisco 49ers have been busy making roster changes. Let’s take a look at what has gone on so far:

Returning free agents: Receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Eric Wright, receiver Kassim Osgood, cornerback Perrish Cox.

2015 free agents extended: Center Daniel Kilgore, fullback Bruce Miller.

Departed free agents: Safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland), cornerback Tarell Brown (Oakland), running back Anthony Dixon (Buffalo), receiver Mario Manningham (Giants), quarterback Colt McCoy (Redskins).

Released: Cornerback Carlos Rogers. He signed with Oakland.

Free-agent additions: Safety Antoine Bethea (Colts), cornerback Chris Cook (Vikings)

Acquired in trade: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jaguars, tackle Jonathan Martin from Miami.

Who are they reportedly interested in: Receiver Josh Morgan (Washington free agent), but there hasn’t been any movement in the two weeks since the report.

Remaining free agents: Center Jonathan Goodwin.

Starting lineup changes: Bethea for Whitner; likely Kilgore for Goodwin; Chris Culliver or upcoming draft pick for Brown.
Free agency continues and the San Francisco 49ers have been busy making roster changes. Let’s take a look at what has gone on so far:

Returning free agents: receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Eric Wright, receiver Kassim Osgood, cornerback Perrish Cox.

2015 free agents extended: Center Daniel Kilgore, fullback Bruce Miller.

Departed free agents: Safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland), cornerback Tarell Brown (Oakland), running back Anthony Dixon (Buffalo), receiver Mario Manningham (Giants).

Released: Cornerback Carlos Rogers.

Free agent additions: Safety Antoine Bethea (Colts), Cornerback Chris Cook (Vikings)

Acquired in trade: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jaguars; tackle Jonathan Martin from Miami.

Who they are reportedly interested in: Receivers DeSean Jackson (49ers reportedly called Philadelphia about a possible trade, although the 49ers deny it) and Josh Morgan (Washington free agent).

Remaining free agents: Center Jonathan Goodwin, quarterback Colt McCoy.

Starting lineup changes: Bethea for Whitner; likely Kilgore for Goodwin, Chris Culliver or upcoming draft pick for Brown.
The San Francisco 49ers continued to add depth to the cornerback position by bringing back Perrish Cox on a one-year deal, his agent tweeted Tuesday.

Cox
Cox is expected to sign this week. He was to be a restricted free agent, but the 49ers didn’t tender him.

Cox bounced on and off the 49ers’ roster last season, but did play in the playoffs. He beat out veteran Eric Wright for playing time in the postseason. However, the 49ers signed Wright two weeks ago, indicating he is a bigger priority moving forward than Cox.

Cox, though, does lengthen the 49ers’ options at cornerback. Last week, we looked at where the position stands. So, Cox increased depth, at least, during training camp.

The 49ers will very likely use a high draft pick on a cornerback who will play a lot as a rookie.

The 49ers have just two remaining unrestricted free agents -- center Jonathan Goodwin and quarterback Colt McCoy. Only Goodwin has a chance to return, but that might be down the road.
Free agency is trudging on and the San Francisco 49ers have been busy making roster changes. Let’s take a look at what has gone on so far:

Returning free agents: Receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Eric Wright

2015 free agents extended: Center Daniel Kilgore, fullback Bruce Miller

Departed free agents: Safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland), cornerback Tarell Brown (Oakland), running back Anthony Dixon (Buffalo), receiver Mario Manningham (Giants)

Released: Cornerback Carlos Rogers

Free-agent addition: Safety Antoine Bethea (Colts), cornerback Chris Cook (Vikings)

Acquired in trade: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jaguars; tackle Jonathan Martin from Dolphins

Who they are reportedly interested in: Receivers DeSean Jackson (49ers reportedly called Philadelphia about a possible trade) and Josh Morgan (Washington free agent)

Remaining free agents: Center Jonathan Goodwin, quarterback Colt McCoy, receiver Kassim Osgood, cornerback Perrish Cox

Starting lineup changes: Bethea for Whitner; likely Kilgore for Goodwin

Update: New Atlanta receiver/returner Devin Hester told reporters the 49ers were one of the teams interested in him. It makes sense. The 49ers have shown interested in many receivers this offseason. The two receivers they are reportedly interested in now are Jackson and Morgan, a former 49er. Getting Jackson would make the make the biggest impact, but the 49ers would have trouble fitting him under their tight salary cap.
No position on the San Francisco 49ers has more uncertainty than cornerback -- and it's not even close.

The team only has one solid starter in place, but there are several players who could emerge. Of course, the 49ers could add a cornerback in a dwindling free-agent market and will surely pick one or two in the May 8-10 draft.

Let's take a look at where the 49ers stand at cornerback:

Brock
Starters:

Tramaine Brock: A year ago, no one would have guess he would be the most reliable cornerback on the team. But Brock made the huge leap from a special teams to the No. 1 cornerback. He was terrific in 2013 and it earned him a four-year contract extension.

Chris Culliver: This is very fluid. The 49ers have confidence in Culliver, but, in a perfect world, he will play the nickel. Culliver, who has proven in the past he can play, missed all of last season with a torn ACL. Still, he's the type of player who would likely be a better No. 3 than a No. 2.

Slot candidates:

Eric Wright: The veteran is talented and has performed well in the past. Yet, he didn't do much last season. It was a mild surprise the 49ers re-signed him to a one-year deal. Wright, who was inactive by the end of the season, has a chance to help if he can gain the coaching staff's trust.

Cook
Chris Cook: He is the 49ers' lone offseason addition at the position so far. Cook, a second-round pick by Minnesota in 2010, has struggled at times -- on and off the field. But there are some positives; he's 6-foot-2 and the team wants him to play in press coverage. Also, he came at a cheap price, getting paid the league minimum with no bonus. Perhaps the light will come on with strong coaching.

Young players with potential:

Darryl Morris: He opened eyes on special teams as an undrafted rookie last season. Coaches think he can help on defense, too.

Dax Swanson: He's a practice-squad player who will get a chance to impress in training camp.

Departed:

Tarell Brown: Brown, a starter much of last season, went across the bay to Oakland for a one-year, $3.5 million deal. The 49ers wanted him back, but not at that price. He is solid and must be replaced.

Carlos Rogers: Cut by the 49ers, there's always a chance he could be brought back at a much reduced price. But I think the 49ers would like to move on.

Cox
Still possible:

Perrish Cox: It's telling that Wright was signed before he was. But similar to Rogers' situation, I guess the door can't be completely closed.

Potential future additions:

The remaining free-agent market is not overly enticing. The top players are Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Antonio Cromartie. Others include Champ Bailey and Jabari Greer. Rodgers-Cromartie would be a good fit, but he wants too much money. The good news for the 49ers is the draft is stacked at this position and they could easily find a starting-quality player in the early rounds.

Conclusion:

The 49ers need to add here and they will probably do it through the draft. If they get the right player, they should be fine. Having players like Culliver, Wright and Cook as a rotation player is not a terrible situation. The key will be, whoever is brought on to the team, he must be ready to contribute right away.
With San Francisco re-signing receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson and cornerback Eric Wright and seeing safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland), cornerback Tarell Brown (Oakland) and running back Anthony Dixon (Buffalo) leave in free agency, let’s take a look at where the team’s remaining free agents stand:

Perrish Cox: The 49ers brought back Wright and signed Chris Cook from Minnesota. I wouldn’t close the door on Cox coming back at some point (he played well in the playoffs), but he's clearly not a priority.

Jonathan Goodwin: I could also see Goodwin coming back at some point, perhaps after the 49ers take a look at their young centers. If Daniel Kilgore struggles, San Francisco could always turn to the crafty veteran.

Mario Manningham: Manningham is coming off yet another injury. I highly doubt the 49ers bring the receiver back. He is visiting the Giants, his original team, Monday.

Colt McCoy: McCoy most certainly will not return. The 49ers traded for Blaine Gabbert to be the backup quarterback.

Kassim Osgood: He’s the guy the team would like back the most. He is a special-teams maven. It could be a numbers game, but at some point I’d think we will see the team bring Osgood back.
Free agency is entering its fifth day (it only seems like 43) and the San Francisco 49ers have been busy making roster changes. Let's take a look at what has gone on so far:

Returning free agents: Receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Eric Wright.

Departed free agents: Safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland), cornerback Tarell Brown (Oakland), running back Anthony Dixon (tweeted he is signing with Buffalo on Saturday).

Released: Cornerback Carlos Rogers.

Free-agent addition: Safety Antoine Bethea (Colts), Cornerback Chris Cook (Vikings).

Acquired in trade: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jaguars; tackle Jonathan Martin from Miami.

Who are they interested in? Cornerback Walter Thurmond (Seattle),receivers Julian Edelman (New England) and Emmanuel Sanders (Pittsburgh).

Remaining 49ers free agents: Center Jonathan Goodwin, receiver Mario Manningham, quarterback Colt McCoy, receiver Kassim Osgood, cornerback Perrish Cox.

Starting lineup changes: Bethea for Whitner; likely Daniel Kilgore for Goodwin.

Chat wrap: Early FA thoughts

March, 13, 2014
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Here are some highlights from our San Francisco 49ers chat, held Thursday:

J-weezy-mcbeezy: Give me your best percentage that the 49ers move in the draft to take a top shelf WR?

Bill Williamson: 50 percent. Other 50 percent is taking back into the end of first round and grabbing WR and CB in first round.

KC from Oakland: Thoughts on Gabbert, Martin, Wright and Bethea moves? Will they sign Cook or another DB before this is over?

BW: Gabbert: Why not. Martin: if he is going to make it, it will be as a 49er. Wright: has talent. Needs to gain on-field trust of coaching staff. Bethea: Solid replacement for Whitner.

Steven from Los Angeles: Thoughts on Tarell Brown?

BW: Surprised he has not gotten any bites. That might benefit the 49ers in their quest to get him back.

49ers' offseason scorecard

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
7:00
AM ET
Free agency isn’t 24 hours old and the San Francisco 49ers have been busy making roster changes. Let’s take a look at what has gone on so far:

Returning free agents: receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Eric Wright.

Departed free agents: Safety Donte Whitner (Browns).

Released: Cornerback Carlos Rogers.

Free=agent addition: Safety Antoine Bethea (Colts).

Acquired in trade: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jaguars; tackle Jonathan Martin from Miami.

Remaining free-agent priority: Cornerback Tarell Brown.

Other remaining free agents: Center Jonathan Goodwin, receiver Mario Manningham, quarterback Colt McCoy, receiver Kassim Osgood, running back Anthony Dixon, cornerback Perrish Cox.

Starting lineup changes: Bethea for Whitner; likely Daniel Kilgore for Goodwin.

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