The 49ers plan to release cornerback Carlos Rogers, according to a report by ESPN, raising the chances they could lose in free agency both players who have started the last three seasons at cornerback. Rogers' release is not a surprise. He is due to make $6.3 million in base salary alone and to count a team-high $8 million against the salary cap. The 49ers asked him to reduce his salary last year or risk being cut. He called their bluff and ended up making $5.5 million in base salary.
Rogers started at left cornerback the last three seasons and also moved to the increasingly critical nickel cornerback position in passing situations. Perrish Cox filled the nickel cornerback role when Rogers was injured during the team's most recent playoff run. Cox is a restricted free agent who will not be tendered. The 49ers also could lose right cornerback Tarell Brown, who becomes a free agent at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The only sure-thing at cornerback for the 49ers in 2014 is Tramaine Brock, who signed a four-year deal during the season. Chris Culliver is returning from an ACL tear suffered in training camp. The only other cornerbacks currently on the roster are Darryl Morris and Dax Swanson. Morris was an undrafted rookie in 2013 who spent his rookie season on the team's special teams coverage units. Swanson spent part of the 2013 season on San Francisco's practice squad. The team is looking at pending free-agent cornerbacks, including Miami's Nolan Carroll.
Rogers, 32, started all 16 regular-season games for the three seasons he was with the 49ers and tied with a team-high six interceptions in 2011. Along with safety Donte Whitner, he was the veteran leader of the secondary and helped mentor Culliver and Brock among others. His release will create more than $5 million under the team's salary cap.
-- Matt Barrows