5 underachieving free agents SF 49ers could target to bolster roster

John Ross III #11 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
John Ross III #11 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Mackensie Alexander, Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mackensie Alexander (21) Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 4: Cornerback Mackensie Alexander, Cincinnati Bengals

Boundary cornerbacks aren’t the only potential losses the Niners could suffer to free agency this offseason.

San Francisco could have trouble re-signing two of its nickel corners, K’Waun Williams and Jamar Taylor, in 2021. And while nickel backs rarely make anything close to the kind of money boundary corners receive, it might be tough to retain someone of Williams’ caliber.

Williams-type performances were probably what the Cincinnati Bengals were hoping for when they inked former Minnesota Vikings corner Mackensie Alexander to a one-year deal last offseason. But Alexander wasn’t much of a difference-maker, registering a suboptimal 60.4 Pro Football Focus grade in 2020 after posting 78.1 and 65.7 overall grades in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Alexander won’t get the $4 million in salary he received from Cincinnati last season. And because of that, he could be a nice fallback option for the SF 49ers if they can’t retain Williams.

And considering Alexander is 27 years old, he’d be a younger option than Williams, too.