Niners needed to get Weary at CB

The name Fred Weary doesn't exactly jump out at you as a savior at cornerback. But he's a veteran who has shown an ability to compete at a starting level in the NFL at the position. As you may have noticed, the 49ers are running a little short on those types of players.

So the team was quick - and judicious - to work a deal with the unrestricted free agent now instead of waiting until later. The Niners need a veteran such as Weary to stabilize a position that is uncertain and shaky at best with Jason Webster having ankle problems and Mike Rumph still unproven.

Webster and Rumph are the top two cornerbacks on the roster behind starting left cornerback Ahmed Plummer, who himself missed the final spring minicamp with some abdominal problems. Since Weary is one of only a few serviceable veterans available - and we use that term loosely - the team couldn't wait and hope something better would suddenly materialize by the time training camp began.

Weary, who started 25 games with the Saints over four years before becoming Atlanta's nickel back last season, could actually find himself as the second-best corner on the roster once camp opens at the end of July.

The Niners don't foresee him in a starting role, but if Webster is slow to recover from minor ankle surgery and Rumph doesn't pan out during the preseason, it's not a stretch that Weary would be given a shot at the first-down lineup. At the very least, he'll provide veteran backup experience at both corner positions while giving Rumph some serious competition at nickel back.

Rumph needs the competition, because it is time for him to step up. The Niners had nobody better than the first-round rookie at the position last year, so he had to play even after the going got rough. Weary could give the Niners an alternative who knows the position if Rumph still is not ready. Weary has spent the last two years in the nickel back role at both New Orleans and Atlanta.

Weary has to make the team, of course, but the Niners wouldn't have signed him after a workout earlier this week unless it looked like he could provide a dimension - or security - that the team hasn't been getting from Rumph and fourth corner Rashad Holman.

The Niners did virtually nothing in free agency this year to upgrade their roster. Signing Weary might get lost as one of those mid-June acquisitions, but two months from now he easily could become the Niners' most significant offseason addition.

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