The off season is underway with the start of the NFL combines and a few free agents around the league already signing new deals. The San Francisco 49ers signed cornerback C.J. Spillman to a three year deal, a position where the Niners need some depth. Spillman is a great resign for the Niners, but he was known more for his contributions in special teams rather than on defense. The two big name defensive backs the Niners will look to make deals with will be pro bowlers Carlos Rogers and Dashon Goldson. Both were absolute studs for the Niners and vital components to a ridiculously stingy defense.
It was a redeeming year for the former top ten pick after having some mediocre years for the Washington Redskins. Prior to this past season, Rogers’s career high in interceptions in a season was two. By season’s end he finished with six interceptions (simple math shows that he tripled his previous career high). Dashon had a breakout season showing that he is a complete safety. He has always shown to be a big hitter, but now he can cover as well. He tied Rogers with six interceptions, clearly displaying that they are both valued defensive backs in the NFL. My question, if we cannot retain both of them, who would like to see stay on the team?
It is always a great luxury to have a shut down corner on a team. Now I am not saying that Rogers is necessarily that, but he was coming close as the season progressed. It looked as if many teams did not respect Rogers at the start of the season. Quarterbacks were throwing to his side early and often, he then had a streak of three straight games with at least one pick. From that point on opposing quarterback threw with caution. His confidence grew throughout the course of the season, batting multiple balls and giving wide receives little room to breathe. Rogers truly had a marvelous season.
Dashon is the kind of defensive back that plays with a linebacker mentality. Early in his Niner career he showed his potential as a playmaker, especially in the hitting department. He was still a bit raw in his coverage skills. It seemed he had trouble in making the decision to lay out a receiver or two make a play on the ball. Dashon figured out the balance and had a remarkable year. As mentioned earlier, he finished the season with 6 interceptions but also added 67 tackles and 1 forced fumble (A hit that Tampa Bay WR Mike Williams still feels). I love the fire that he plays with and now he has also added great anticipation when reading a pass. I believe Patrick Willis and Dashon could mirror the likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. We all know the success the Baltimore Ravens franchise have had with those two.
It should be apparent to who I am leaning towards. Obviously I would like to keep both Carlos and Dashon but if I had to choose one it would one, it would have to be Dashon. Although Carlos is a great player and had a great year, Dashon shows more upside and has more playmaking ability. It is more than likely that both will be looking for a big contract. The only chances I see the Niners retaining both players are if they franchise tag one and sign the other to a deal. That would likely mean that the front office will not be capable of signing any other big time free agent because the Niners are also looking to resign Alex Smith.
I am fine with the Niners sticking with the same players that got us to the NFC championship game and adding any missing pieces through the draft. We will see what happens. All we could hope as Niner fans is that Trent Baalke makes the right business decisions. Go Niners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!