Free agency talk is heating up, as players are now able to communicate with other teams and some deals are getting done.
Players will be able to sign deals with their current or new teams starting at 4 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, and the 49ers have a few key guys still not signed who are ready to test the market. One of those players is starting cornerback Tarell Brown.
Brown was drafted by the 49ers in 2007 and has been a major contributor in the defensive backfield ever since his second season in the league. A quality cover corner in man coverage who has the size and speed that a lot of teams covet, Brown’s a confident guy. That works to his advantage. The 49ers would love to keep him, but his price tag may be too steep.
Brown figures to be looking for a similar deal to what corners Brent Grimes (four years, $32 million) and Sam Shields (four years, $39 million) have recently signed. Rumors are that the Niners just won’t be willing to pay that type of money for Brown, with their eyes set on the draft. But, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Brown is a very good NFL cornerback, but the 49ers have a few guys in Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox who can be quality starters. I also think they could bring in a veteran cornerback for cheaper than what Brown will be asking, and the draft is deep with good young corners, and the Niners have plenty of picks to use on one or maybe even two solid prospects.
There are a number of veteran corners on the market — Champ Bailey, Antonio Cromartie, Charles Tillman, Vontae Davis, Captain Munnerlyn, Alterraun Verner, Walter Thurmond just to name just a few. Munnerlyn, Verner, and Davis may be a little pricey, but Tillman, Cromartie, Thurmond and Bailey could all be options.
I’m not sure how aggressive the 49ers will actually be in free agency, so it’s hard to determine their interest level right now. I would be really surprised if they bring back Brown, unless he gives a hometown discount. They just don’t have the future cap space to give him the kind of deal that he wants, and frankly I don’t know if they’re willing to spend that type of cash on him.
To read more about possible changes to the 49ers secondary, click here.