49ers Retain Rogers, Keep Defense Intact for 2012

Team decides to re-sign Pro Bowl cornerback on first day of free agency

By Doug Williams
|  Wednesday, Mar 14, 2012  |  Updated 9:25 AM PDT
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49ers Retain Rogers, Keep Defense Intact

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Cornerback Carlos Rogers will be back with the 49ers next season.

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Randy Moss is now a San Francisco 49er, as is cornerback Perrish Cox. But special teams standout Blake Costanzo is gone, as is wide receiver Joshua Morgan.

Now, free-agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd of the Rams is coming in for a visit, just as Chaz Schillens did on Tuesday.

As the free-agency feeding frenzy opened, the Niners were busy, ushering players in and out, just another example of how the only consistent aspect about team rosters in the NFL is their inconsistency.

However, the 49ers’ biggest move Tuesday was a strike to maintain consistency on defense with the re-signing of Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers.

Rogers, who had signed a one-year deal with San Francisco last season, was an unrestricted free agent, and reports had indicated the 49ers might let him test the free-agent market.

But on the first day of free agency, the NFL Network reported Rogers and the team had come to terms on a four-year, $31.3 million contract. As Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports noted, given the free-agent market for starting cornerbacks, it’s a relative bargain; former Titans standout Cortland Finnegan was given a $50 million, five-year deal by the Rams. Two other corners available were Brandon Carr and Eric Wright, both of whom could have been more expensive to sign than Rogers.

By retaining Rogers, the team keeps its entire defense intact from 2011 – a defense that was No. 1 in the NFL against the run, No. 2 in points allowed and No. 4 overall.

Rogers, who had a career-high six interceptions in 2011, had wanted to stay in San Francisco.

“My preference is to be back,” Rogers, 30, said in January. At the time, he was hopeful he could strike a deal before he became a free agent, but he noted even if he hit the free-agent market, he’d like to stay a Niner – which is exactly what happened.

“This ain’t about me coming out and saying, ‘Now I’m free, let’s get the check,’ ” he told reporters just after the conclusion of the season. “I’m thinking about this team, and this is where I want to be.”

In addition to re-signing Rogers, the 49ers also have added depth with Cox, signing the former Bronco to a two-year deal. Cox sat out last season after Denver released him after he was charged with sexual assault. He was acquitted of those charges this month, reports Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Cox, a fifth-round pick by Denver in 2010, is also a kick returner, so he could be Plan B in the event free agent receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr. leaves. Reports indicated the Lions are interested in Ginn.

Niners GM Trent Baalke said Tuesday that the team had done its “due diligence” in looking into Cox’s background and is satisfied he will be “a positive contributor to the 49ers as well as our community.” In a conference call with reporters, Cox said of his legal problems: “That’s not me. I’m not that type of guy.”

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