July is Niners' last chance on FA open market

The 49ers picked up veteran free-agent help this week at one of the few positions they might not really have needed it when they signed Tom Rouen to compete with Andy Lee at punter. There are several other areas that could use a free-agent upgrade before training camp, and here's a rundown on the team's interest and remaining options at every position with four weeks left before the pads go on.

THE BEST FREE AGENTS
STILL AVAILABLE ON OPEN MARKET
Former 49ers listed in bold
Other positions played in parentheses

Quarterback
Kerry Collins
Tommy Maddox
Vinny Testaverde
Tony Banks
Shane Matthews
Jeff Blake
Ty Detmer
Craig Krenzel
Travis Brown
49ers interest: The 49ers are set at quarterback after getting the veteran mentor and backup to starter Alex Smith that they wanted when they traded for 13th year vet Trent Dilfer in May. They also have some nice competition on tap behind those two with Jesse Palmer, Cody Pickett and newcomer Shaun Hill set to fight it out for the No. 3 role.

Running back
Jonathan Wells
Lamar Gordon
Stephen Davis
Moe Williams
Mike Cloud
J.R. Redmond
James Jackson
49ers interest: The 49ers already upgraded the summer competition at the position by bringing in fourth-round draft pick Michael Robinson to vie with holdovers Maurice Hicks and Terry Jackson for playing time behind the expected lead tandem of Frank Gore and Kevan Barlow.

Fullback
Jarrod Baxter
Harold Morrow
Omar Easy
49ers interest: The 49ers dipped into free agency earlier this spring by bringing in blocking specialist Moran Norris to compete with incumbent starter Chris Hetherington. Jackson also could figure into the equation at this position, as he has in previous seasons.

Wide receiver
Kevin Johnson
Az-Zahir Hakim
Johnnie Morton
Dez White
Ricky Proehl
Patrick Johnson
P.J. Fleck
Eddie Berlin
49ers interest: The clamor to bring in another veteran receiver has died down with the team now inclined to let five young holdover veterans fight it out for remaining roster berths behind the top four of Antonio Bryant, Arnaz Battle, Bryan Gilmore and Brandon Williams entering training camp. Fleck has gotten a few feelers from other teams after being dropped by the 49ers last month.

Tight end
Lamont Hall
Roland Williams
Cam Cleeland
Shad Meier
Teyo Johnson
Chad Lewis
Brian Kozlowski
Zeron Flemister
Wesley Duke
Sean Berton
49ers interest: The Niners upgraded at this position as much as any in the offseason by drafting first-rounder Vernon Davis and sixth-rounder Delanie Walker, then re-signing veteran Terry Jones, who started five of the team's final seven games. With Eric Johnson returning after missing all of the 2005 season with a foot injury, and second-year player Billy Bajema on the rise, the 49ers certainly have no need to bring in a retread veteran here.

Guard
Kendyl Jacox
Ron Stone
Kendyl Jacox
Victor Riley (OT)
Fred Weary
Tom Nutten
Tupe Peko
49ers interest: The 49ers made perhaps their biggest splash in free agency here when they signed 10-time Pro Bowler Larry Allen earlier this spring. He immediately becomes one of the team's best players, and the Niners are happy with the young competition they have at the position that includes projected starting right guard Justin Smiley and three other versatile players who could start at guard or somewhere else on the line – David Baas, Eric Heitmann and Adam Snyder.

Offensive tacke:
Orlando Brown
Matt Stinchcomb
Ethan Brooks
Scott Gragg
Jacob Rogers
49ers interest: It wouldn't hurt the Niners to have another experienced name in the mix here to compete for a backup role, but none of these names would fit the bill, and the team enters training camp with Jonas Jennings, Adam Snyder, Kwame Harris and Patrick Estes as its top four tackles, with undrafted free-agent rookies Bobby Harris and Tavares Washington getting a look this summer.

Center
Jeff Mitchell
Cory Raymer
Cory Withrow
49ers interest: If Jeremy Newberry can make it back from his career-threatening knee problem the Niners have a plethora of talent and depth here. If Newberry can't make it back, Heitmann and Baas will battle for the starting role and the team might look at its options in free agency after training camp begins.

Kicker
Paul Edinger
Jose Cortez
Todd Peterson
49ers interest:
The 49ers spent a chunk of their free-agent dollars this year on Joe Nedney, who figures to be worth it in the future if he continues to kick like he did in 2005.

Punter
Kyle Richardson
Tom Tupa
Sean Landeta
Bryan Barker
Micah Knorr
49ers interest: The Niners already tapped this pool when they signed Rouen, who still has something left and ostensibly will be given a legitimate opportunity to compete with Lee for the job.

Defensive tackle
Grady Jackson
Dan Wilkinson
Brenston Buckner
Lance Legree (DE)
Steve Martin
Travis Hall
Josh Williams
Jerry Deloach
Willie Blade
Brandon Noble
49ers interest: The Niners remain a little thin here, and they could go looking for a veteran fill-in late in the summer, just like they did when they signed Hall a few weeks before the season began last year.

Defensive end
Duane Clemons
Gary Walker (DT in 4-3)
Adrian Dingle
Carl Powell (DT)
49ers interest: It's slim pickings here for the Niners, who never did get the veteran upgrade they would have liked during the offseason and will give sixth-round pick Melvin Oliver a chance to win a backup role behind veteran starters Bryant Young and Marques Douglas. Expect nose tackles Anthony Adams and Ronnie Fields to get their opportunities to get in the mix at end, too.

Inside/middle linebacker
Earl Holmes
Rocky Calmus
Chris Claiborne (WLB)
Saleem Rasheed
Orlando Ruff
Ronald McKinnon
Frank Chamberlin
Kenyatta Wright
Zeke Moreno
49ers interest: This could be a place the 49ers look to add a proven veteran after the late move of Brandon Moore to outside linebacker at the conclusion of organized team activities this spring. Ideally, the Niners wanted Moore to concentrate on the inside in their 3-4 scheme as the top backup to starters Derek Smith and Jeff Ulbrich, and also use him as an edge rusher on passing downs. But if he assumes a starting role on the outside, the Niners may need to go looking for more help inside.

Outside linebacker
Jamie Sharper (WLB/SLB)
Chad Brown (SLB/WLB)
Peter Boulware (SLB)
Junior Seau (WLB, SLB)
Nate Wayne (WLB)
DeLawrence Grant (SLB)
Marcus Reese (SLB)
49ers interest: Another last-minute option for the Niners is to keep Moore as the top backup on the inside and bring in one of these guys to compete for the open starting position on the edge opposite the strong-side projected starter, rookie Manny Lawson.

Cornerback
Ty Law
Will Peterson
Dexter McCleon
Joseph Jefferson (S)
Kevin Thomas
Tony Beckham
Denard Walker
Dale Carter
Ralph Brown
Willie Williams
Dewayne Washington
Terry Fair
49ers interest: The Niners failed to bring in a legitimate starting upgrade at cornerback, which appeared to be one of their most pressing needs this offseason. Law clearly is the best still available, but he'll be pricey and the Niners don't feel he's a good fit in their system who could be left alone to go man-to-man with receivers on the edge without safety help. San Francisco waited until a July 15 trade last year to bring in veteran Willie Middlebrooks – who was expect to vie for a starting role but didn't even make the initial 53-man roster – so it's possible they Niners still will make a move at this position, but they'll want to do it before training camp if they do.

Safety
Antuan Edwards
Lance Schulters
Antuan Edwards
Brent Alexander
Kim Herring
Jerome Woods
Reggie Tongue
Keion Carpenter
Ronnie Heard
Earl Little
Jerry Wilson
Ifeanyi Ohalete
Bracy Walker
John Howell
49ers interest: The 49ers also are looking for a proven starter at free safety who can be a force opposite strong safety Tony Parrish, but instead of testing some of these names they brought in free-agent Chad Williams, a swing safety who will compete with holdover Mike Adams at the position. If the 49ers were going to be bring in one of these free-agent names – enabling them to move Adams into the hot competition at cornerback – they would have done it already.


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