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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Stephon Gilmore, Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers cornerback Stephon Gilmore (9) Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers free-agent cornerback No. 2: Stephon Gilmore, Panthers

Again, there’s a chance San Francisco will have the cash to splurge on one high-profile free agent this offseason, and there are few with as good of name recognition as Carolina Panthers cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

True, Gilmore was relatively unceremoniously traded away by the New England Patriots to Carolina last season amid an injury that cut short his 2020 campaign. And while Gilmore might not be in the running for any more Defensive Player of the Year awards at this stage of his career, he nevertheless bounced back nicely with the Panthers, earning his fifth Pro Bowl nod despite being out for all but nine games.

Read More: Richard Sherman predicts Stephon Gilmore will sign with 49ers or Seahawks

Gilmore, just like Kyle Fuller, will also probably want to chase a Super Bowl ring at this stage of his career, Gilmore already having one under his belt (or on his hand). And turning 32 years old at the very early stages of the upcoming regular season, time is surely running out.

Unlike the other cornerbacks already mentioned, though, Gilmore probably won’t come cheap. While he might not be quite as expensive as the next cornerback on this list, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see Gilmore command a deal worth more than $14 million annually.

Still, for someone who could effectively lock down one side of the field, signing Gilmore would solve a lot of the 49ers’ defensive problems heading into 2022.