San Francisco 49ers’ General Manager Trent Baalke is at it again. With his move to sign cornerback Tramaine Brock, who has yet to start a game for the 49ers, he has made a bold statement about the future. Yes, this could be risky, as Brock does not have much experience under his belt, but the potential downsides are far outweighed by the potential rewards.
Brock has shown outstanding potential in his opportunities as a nickel cornerback this season. He beat out Nnamdi Asomugha, who once was considered the best cornerback in the NFL, for that spot. Brock showed up on game days, getting interceptions—and even a touchdown. Unlike the injured Chris Culliver, the talented cornerback whom the 49ers seemed to be grooming for a starting spot before his injury, Brock’s name does not come up very often as someone who just made a bonehead play or got burned by a receiver.
In locking up Brock now, the 49ers can sign him for likely less than he would get in a couple of years. Also, they can spread some of that money out into this year, when they have a tiny bit of cap room to play with, freeing up space in future years for perhaps another contract (Colin Kaepernick and Aldon Smith come to mind).
While the 49ers are signing their own players to extensions, another question comes to mind. With Jared Allen entering Free Agency this offseason, could the 49ers potentially make a run at him? He has said he would be willing to take less money to play for a contender. The 49ers may not want another aging pass rusher, but a defensive line consisting of Allen and Justin Smith, with Aldon, Ahmad Brooks, and Corey Lemonier attacking from the OLB spots could be one incredible force.
Baalke has continually proved his worth as GM—even if some of his draft picks have not worked out (see: A.J. Jenkins). This was an excellent extension and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.