5 cornerbacks 49ers must pursue in 2022 NFL free agency

D.J. Reed #2 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
D.J. Reed #2 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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The 49ers should dip into the 2022 NFL free agency pool to stockpile their cornerback room this offseason, and these five make perfect sense.

The San Francisco 49ers have a pretty dire need to reinforce their cornerback room this offseason.

Already a weakness last year, particularly after losing No. 1 corner Jason Verrett to a season-ending ACL tear in Week 1, the Niners are also poised to lose fellow defensive backs Josh Norman, Dontae Johnson and K’Waun Williams to NFL free agency, and it’s highly unlikely Norman would return anyway after being benched late in the year.

Sure, the Niners can hope 2021 rookie cornerbacks Ambry Thomas and Deommdore Lenoir develop into quality players, and Emmanuel Moseley is going to be back anyway. Yet all three of those players could nevertheless prompt upgrades, and if the other names wind up leaving in free agency, San Francisco will still have that need.

The 49ers could potentially be limited in their free-agent spending this offseason, so that matters a lot. But there might be enough cash for one high-profile free agent.

Either way, here are five corners the Niners could target when NFL free agency officially begins on March 16.

49ers free-agent cornerback No. 5: D.J. Reed, Seahawks

Williams is turning 31 years old this offseason, and some may argue we saw a slight dip in his production as the 2021 season wore on.

If San Francisco is going to spend the same kind of money on a nickel back, it might as well go after a former defender from a previous draft class, Seattle Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed, who managed two interceptions in each of the last two seasons after the Hawks claimed him off waivers in 2020.

At 25 years old, Reed is significantly younger than Williams and could probably be had on a deal worth $5 million annually, a smarter investment than continuing to spend money on the aging and oft-injured Williams.

Plus, Reed already has familiarity with the 49ers defense and might already be predicting his free-agent landing spot anyway:

Let’s hope that’s the case.