The 49ers will cut Carlos Rogers, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson. Letting Rogers hit the open market gives the 49ers $5.1 million more space under the salary cap, and as Rogers’ role and production diminished throughout his three seasons in San Francisco this move doesn’t come as a surprise.
Rogers was definitely overpaid in 2013, but his impact on the team was underrated in many ways. The 49ers’ pass defense was in the bottom third of the league in 2010. A year later, Rogers and Tarell Brown were the top two cornerbacks and as a team San Francisco lowered their touchdown passes allowed by four and increased their interceptions by 10. Rogers tied Dashon Goldson for the team lead with six picks.
That was Rogers’ career year, when he was named Second-Team All-Pro by the Associated Press and Pro Football Focus. He wasn’t as good in 2012, his 2013 season was merely average and a hamstring injury kept him out of action during the 49ers’ first two postseason games. The salary cap forces teams and fans to evaluate players based on how much they make on a near-weekly basis, but Rogers meant a little more to the 49ers. He allowed them to turn the page from Nate Clements. If Rogers was making too much, Clements was drastically, comically overpaid.
Rogers was one of the team’s spokesmen, with a weekly show on KNBR that was sneaky-good … and not just due to his southern drawl. Rogers brings the kind of honesty rarely heard in NFL locker rooms, along with a sense of humor.
On the field, Rogers got a lot of flack over the last two years for failing to blanket receivers. However, he was often tasked with a thankless job. He was the team’s tallest and oldest corner (not counting Nnamdi Asomugha, who probably shouldn’t count), yet Rogers was the one following short, speedy slot receivers around. He was paid handsomely to do so, but let’s not forget that the 49ers became a top-10 pass defense over each of the last two seasons.
Rogers turns 33 in July, and the 49ers will look to get younger at a key position either through free agency or the draft. But it’s not a given they’ll get better. Rogers was drafted ninth overall in 2005, but didn’t fulfill his potential until his seventh season. In doing so, he became one of the best free agent signings of Trent Baalke’s tenure. Rogers played in three NFC Championship games, didn’t miss any time until those two playoff games, and displayed versatility. That’s probably worth a few extra dollars over the last two years.