An updated look at free agency needs

March 13, 2012, 7:54 pm
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Yep, the 49ers signed a cornerbackreturn man on Tuesday -- an hour or so before the official start of free agency.Of course, the 49ers needed to add a cornerback. And they needed to add a return man. And they still need players at both spots.Perrish Cox's addition to the 49ers' offseason roster is less of an answer and more along the lines of a remote possibility. He is a long way from earning a spot on the 53-man roster for the regular season.If Cox works out, fine. But his addition at the beginning of free agency has no impact on Carlos Rogers or Ted Ginn or anyone else.The team's needs remain unchanged at the beginning of the free-agent signing period:Wide receiver: Right now, Randy Moss and Michael Crabtree are the presumptive starters. Kyle Williams is still on the roster, but the 49ers need at least one more veteran player to add to the mix. Perhaps, a player such as Joshua Morgan, Robert Meachem, Early Doucet, Harry Douglas or Eddie Royal will be there.Cornerback: Carlos Rogers appears ticketed to the highest bidder in free agency. Right now, Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver are atop the depth chart with Tramaine Brock in the mix for extensive playing time. Cox will get a chance to rebuild his NFL stock, while the 49ers continue to look for help at this spot. If Jason Allen (Houston) sits out there, the 49ers could be interested.Safety: The 49ers will be looking for an inexpensive veteran with starting experience who comes to the team as a backup to Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner. The 49ers could re-sign Madieu Williams, but not until he has a chance to look around and see if it's in his best interest to return to San Francisco.Guard: Adam Snyder is a free agent, and the 49ers have Daniel Kilgore. It seems unlikely the 49ers will throw big money at a guard in free agency, but they could add to the competition with a deal for a veteran, such as Mike McGlynn (Cincinnati), who can play more than one spot.Running back: Admittedly, third-stringer Anthony Dixon had a disappointing season. The 49ers need to add to the running back position to find more of an every-down alternative to Frank Gore. They're not looking to unseat Gore, but they need another player here.
Linebacker: The 49ers will be looking for depth at the linebacker spots. The starters are set with Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks on the outside, and Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman on the inside. Larry Grant is the top backup inside, but he could leave as a restricted free agent. Parys Haralson would be a good backup on the outside, but the 49ers have not committed whether they plan to retain him at his scheduled 2.75 million salary.