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April 15, 2013
Brock to sign contract as 49ers offseason program kicks off

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*****UPDATED***** The 49ers announced that Brock did in fact sign his one-year tender.

Restricted free agent Tramaine Brock will sign his $1.323 million tender today, setting up one of the 49ers' better offseason battles. With the addition of Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency, the 49ers now have six cornerbacks with NFL game experience - Asomugha, Brock, Tarell Brown, Perrish Cox, Chris Culliver and Carlos Rogers.

At first blush, Brock would seem to be the odd man out. After all, he was the team's no. 5 cornerback last season and rarely - 21 snaps - stepped onto the field to play defense. However, he was active for all 19 games and was a regular on special teams (63 percent of the snaps), which is a very nice ability to have when a team must reduce its roster in late August.

You could argue that another returning player, Michael Thomas, also is part of this mix. Thomas is listed as a safety, but he also can play the nickel cornerback position that Rogers and Cox play, and he also would be a factor on special teams.

In addition, the 49ers could use one or more of their 13 picks on a cornerback. Along with the Patriots, they have shown the most interest in troubled LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who visited the team this month. Also, Adam Caplan of XM radio reported today that Houston cornerback D.J Hayden is visiting the 49ers. Hayden is one of the top prospects at the position. However, he nearly died after suffering a torn blood vessel in November, and teams must evaluate him medically before they can consider drafting him.

By signing his tender, Brock will become an unrestricted free agent next season.

Brock is one of many 49ers who will be on hand for the start of the team's offseason workout program today. Per the collective bargaining agreement, the first part of the program is limited to strength, conditioning and injury rehabilitation. Strength and conditioning coaches are allowed on the field, but position coaches, coordinators, Jim Harbaugh, etc. are not.

Helmets are not allowed. While quarterbacks can throw to receivers, the pass catchers cannot be covered and there can be no physical contact.

Many players' bonuses are tied to these voluntary workouts, which is why there will be a high attendance this week. Rising stars Colin Kaepernick and LaMichael James, for instance, are back in town and will take part. Veterans like Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, meanwhile, have been working out on their own and receiving treatment at the team facility and also will be on hand this week.

Smith had surgery on his torn left triceps tendon in February. He no longer is walking around with his arm protected and is continuing to rehabilitate the arm. He is expected to cleared for the start of training camp in late July.

- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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