Now Niners turn to FA to fill out roster

The 49ers added several prominent pieces to their rebuilding project over draft weekend, but they're not quite done assembling the team they'll field in 2006. As coach Mike Nolan said, "We're in the middle of it right now. The brunt of free agency is done, but there is still a month or two left after the draft. We will see where we'll end up." The 49ers still could add FAs at multiple positions, particularly on defense, and here's a breakdown of the top talent still available on the open market.

Former 49ers and unrestricted FAs who played for team in 2005 in bold
Other positions played by free agent in parentheses

Quarterback
Kerry Collins
Tommy Maddox
Jay Fiedler
Tony Banks
Shane Matthews
Jeff Blake
Ty Detmer
Doug Flutie
49ers interest: None. The Niners got the veteran quarterback they were looking for to be Alex Smith's backup when they brought in Trent Dilfer last week via trade with the Cleveland Browns.

Running Back
Jonathan Wells
Lamar Gordon
Stephen Davis
Mike Cloud
James Jackson
J.R. Redmond
49ers interest: Now that fourth-round pick Michael Robinson has been brought in with the intention of playing him at running back, the Niners have zero reason to consider running backs on the open market. In fact, they are now stocked at the position that they may be contributing to the open market by the time training camp is over.

Fullback
Jarrod Baxter
Daimon Shelton
Nick Luchey
Moran Norris
Omar Easy
49ers interest: Norv Turner's offense utilizes a lot of one-back sets that don't require a fullback, and now that the team intends to use sixth-round pick Delanie Walker at the position, they have no need to come looking for a backup to Chris Hetherington here.

Wide Receiver
Kevin Johnson
Dez White
Az-Zahir Hakim
Randy Hymes
Patrick Johnson
David Boston
Johnnie Morton
Troy Edwards
Ricky Proehl
49ers interest: Adding one more legitimate veteran performer at receiver certainly wouldn't hurt the 49ers, but they already have more players at this position than they know what to do with.

Tight End
Boo Williams
Lamont Hall
Roland Williams
Marcellus Rivers
Cam Cleeland
Shad Meier
49ers interest: No need to come looking here now that Vernon Davis has been drafted and the Niners have a nice complement of veterans such as Eric Johnson, Terry Jones and Billy Bajema to fight for backup roles behind him.

Guard
Kendyl Jacox
Ron Stone
Victor Riley (OT)
Fred Weary
Tom Nutten
Tupe Peko
49ers interest: Even if they were looking for another veteran to provide depth at guard – which they aren't – the 49ers wouldn't come looking for anyone on this list.

Offensive tackle
Brad Hopkins (LT)
Orlando Brown
Matt Stinchcomb
Scott Gragg
Ethan Brooks
Jacob Rogers
49ers interest: The Niners are looking good depth-wise at tackle, too, since the loser of the Adam Snyder/Kwame Harris battle for the starting position at right tackle can be the top backup on both sides. On a side note, it's probably time for former 49er Gragg to hang 'em up.

Center
Jeff Mitchell
Cory Raymer
49ers interest: Both these veterans still are good players, but like elsewhere along the offensive line, the 49ers are feeling good about both their starters and backups.

Kicker
Todd Peterson
Paul Edinger
Jose Cortez
49ers interest: Finally, the 49ers don't have to consider kickers on the open market any longer after locking up Joe Nedney to a long-term deal.

Punter
Kyle Richardson
Tom Tupa
Sean Landeta
49ers interest: The 49ers did well by bringing in undrafted rookie free agent Tom Malone, one of the nation's top punters in recent seasons at USC. He ought to provide some decent training camp competition for Andy Lee.

Defensive tackle
Jason Fisk
Brenston Buckner
Grady Jackson
James Reed
Lance Legree (DE)
Steve Martin
Josh Williams
Jerry Deloach
Junior Ioane
49ers interest: Now that we're on the defensive side of the ball, the Niners definitely are at attention, but none of these names seem to fit into what the team is trying to accomplish.

Defensive end
Duane Clemons
Gary Walker (DT in 4-3)
Adrian Dingle
Carl Powell (DT)
49ers interest: It's slim pickings here, so the 49ers will give sixth-round pick Melvin Oliver a shot before they decide they need to go looking elsewhere – which they still might.

Inside linebacker
Rocky Calmus
Earl Holmes
Chris Claiborne (WLB)
Saleem Rasheed
Ronald McKinnon
49ers interest: With Brandon Moore set as the top backup for both Derek Smith and Jeff Ulbrich, the 49ers have invested plenty of money into this position. With Rasheed getting few nibbles on the open market, there's a decent chance he could be brought back to San Francisco at veteran's minimum wage, considering his experience in the team's system last year. The question is if the 49ers even want to pay him that much. Jim Maxwell looked good on the inside during minicamp, so the answer may be no.

Outside linebacker
Jamie Sharper (WLB/SLB)
Tommy Polley (WLB)
Chad Brown (SLB/WLB)
Peter Boulware (SLB)
Keith Newman (SLB)
Barrett Green (WLB)
Junior Seau (WLB, SLB)
DeLawrence Grant (SLB)
Nate Wayne (WLB)
49ers interest: The 49ers will seriously consider several of these names up until July. They'll have a better sense of how much they may need a veteran outside linebacker about a month from now after getting a look at their new young prospects at the position during organized team activities, which run through the middle of June.

Cornerback
Ty Law
Ahmed Plummer
Dexter McCleon
Ralph Brown
Ray Mickens
Willie Williams
Michael Lehan
DeWayne Washington
Dale Carter
Willie Middlebrooks (S)
Terry Fair
49ers interest: There's a good chance the 49ers would consider pulling the trigger and bringing in a free-agent cornerback who can give the team the upgrade it's looking for at the position once occupied by Plummer. The problem is, beyond Law, the talent here might not be better than what the 49ers already have. And the Niners aren't convinced Law is worth the money it will take to sign him, or if he's even a good fit for their defensive coverage schemes, since he most often will need a safety behind him in coverage. On the possibility of getting another cornerback in free agency before training camp begins in July, coach Mike Nolan said, "We will be looking. It might be something (such as a trade) with another team. We're open to whatever it takes. Defensive backs are easy to find, but good defensive backs are hard to find, and we'll be particular with what we add there."

Safety
Antuan Edwards
Brent Alexander
Lance Schulters
Keion Carpenter
Ronnie Heard
Earl Little
Jerry Wilson
Ifeanyi Ohalete
Bracy Walker
John Howel
49ers interest: See above. The 49ers' situation at safety is similar to what it is at cornerback. But the 49ers seem to have more promising candidates to fill their void at safety than at cornerback and, after adding free agent Chad Williams at the end of April and drafting Marcus Hudson in the sixth round and Vickiel Vaughn in the seventh, they're probably finished with their offseason shopping here.


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