Rogers: 'We've got to win our division'
Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers may be on their way out of San Francisco after the season if the 49ers decide to go in a younger and cheaper direction. (AP)
SANTA CLARA -- Safety Donte Whitner and cornerback Carlos Rogers arrived on the scene with the 49ers three days apart in the summer of 2011.
Both veterans earned their first trips to the Pro Bowl while with the 49ers. And both now face uncertain futures with the franchise as they enter their third training camp together.
Whitner begins the final year of his initial contract with the 49ers. Rogers parlayed his outstanding 2011 season into a multi-year deal. But his scheduled cap figures of $7.34 million this season and $8.09 million in 2014 prompts the question of how long Rogers will be around at that price tag.
"Anybody who ever says it's not a concern, they're probably lying," Whitner said Wednesday on the day the veterans were required to report to training camp.
"It's always a concern, especially when you're in a business that's so physical. You never know what's going to happen on the football field. I'm not in a position to make anybody do anything. All I can do is come out here, work hard each and every day, lead the secondary, help continue to make sure we're one of the top defenses in the National Football League and everything else will fall into place."
Whitner takes on extra responsibility this season with All-Pro Dashon Goldson leaving the 49ers as a free agent to sign a lucrative deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The competition for the starting job alongside Whitner includes rookie Eric Reid, a first-round draft pick.
Meanwhile, Rogers is also feeling added pressure this season with NFC West rivals Seattle and St. Louis adding explosive slot receivers in the offseason. The Seahawks acquired Percy Harvin in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings, while the Rams invested a first-round draft pick on Tavon Austin.
The 49ers bring back their top five cornerbacks from a year ago. They also signed veteran Nnamdi Asomugha and had a trade worked out with Tampa Bay for Eric Wright. However, the 49ers voided the trade when Wright failed the team physical this week.
Rogers said he envisions no change in the role he filled the past two seasons as starting left cornerback and the team's top slot cover man.
"Everybody's going to be competing," Rogers said. "I'm never worried about guys they bring in. My play on the field will speak for itself. I think that's every approach to every DB. When the decision's made, it's made. You can't control that."
Roger said he can control how he plays, but beyond that, he is out of the loop when the 49ers front office decides what to do with his contract. There are whispers around the league that the 49ers want Rogers to take a pay cut to remain on the team this season. He signed a four-year, $29.3 million contract in March 2012.
"They're going to make their decision," Rogers said. "I signed the contract. It was a contract they presented to me, and I accepted it. After that, I just got to continue to play. I don't think it matters. If you're playing and you're playing well, you being released off your numbers, that's something you can't control."
Whitner took a public approach to the concerns over his contract situation. Last week, he sent out a message on Twitter in which he wondered whether he would be back with the 49ers in 2014.
Why would he do that?
"A lot of fans like stuff like that," Whitner said. "We don't look at it like it's a distraction because most of my teammates haven't seen it or heard about it. So it's really for the fans. You like to read their replies and possibly write something back."
Whitner said he was just "generating discussion." Plus, he knows of one prominent person who would see his message: 49ers CEO Jed York.
"He follows me," Whitner said. "I'm pretty sure he saw it."