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Tarell Brown has jumped across San Francisco Bay. The longtime 49ers cornerback signed a one-year contract with the Raiders on Friday afternoon worth $3.5 million. That total is fully guaranteed, per an NFL source.
“This was the best fit for me,” Brown said. “They’ve been adding some solid defenders to this team and I’m excited to join the group … This team really wanted me, and I wanted to be somewhere where I could be appreciated. There was no other place as good a fit as this one right here.”
Brown played seven seasons with the 49ers and started the last three. He had 143 tackles, six interceptions, 40 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries as a full-time starter. He’s played exceptional football at times, including the postseason.
A source told CSN Bay Area earlier Friday that the 49ers offered Brown a three-year contract worth $10 million, but the veteran chose a shorter contract with a virtually secure starting spot.
“(Returning to the 49ers) was always a thought and something I hoped would work out, but everything happens for a reason,” Brown said. “I understand that it’s a business and they’re looking to get younger or bring in other guys. You can’t fault them for that. I understand that it's business and I look forward to being here and starting a new culture.”
Brown will start on one side of the field, and first-round pick DJ Hayden could start on the other side if he makes solid progress in his sophomore season. Brown wants to help Hayden become a productive member of the starting lineup.
“I think he is a great talent, a guy with a lot of speed and has all the athletic ability and can play this game,” Brown said. “I think the biggest thing for him is just to be around guys that can help mold him and bring him along and help him turn into a true professional – learn how to study on and off the field and things of that sort. But he is definitely a good talent.”
Brown should be a mentor on a defense full of veterans with playoff experience. The four newest Raiders – defensive ends Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley, defensive tackle Antonio Smith and Brown – have recent playoff experience.
They will all be assets for defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, a former 49ers position coach who re-unites with Brown in the East Bay.
“Me and J.T. [Tarver] have always had a great relationship when he was with the 49ers,” Brown said. “He was always a coach I looked up to, especially with the knowledge he was giving me as a younger player first coming into the league. [He is] very aware of the game. He understands the game and he sees the game the way I kind of see it, so that’s always a good thing to be around somebody you are very familiar with.”
CSN Bay Area 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco also contributed to this report