Posted: 5:00 p.m. Monday, July 29, 2013
By Nick Chiamardas
Here at Niners Nation, we're presenting a series called "90-in-90". We'll be looking at every player on the 49ers offseason roster, one player per post, from now until the start of training camp.
When the 49ers signed Carlos Rogers in 2011 many weren't sure what to expect from the former top-ten pick. After all, Rogers wasn't the 49ers' first choice to replace Nate Clements that offseason ... he likely wasn't even their second choice ... or third ... or fourth. After Nnamdi Asomugha, Johnathan Joseph and Antonio Cromartie signed elsewhere, the 49ers agreed on a one-year deal with Rogers for roughly $4 million.
When Rogers hit the field that year, he was one of the best corners in the league. He intercepted six passes and recorded 18 passes defended, which he parlayed into a four-year deal potentially worth $29.3 million. In the first year of that deal, 2012, Rogers regressed. While he did record more tackles than 2012 he intercepted only one pass and defended just seven.
Given his regression, added competition, and escalating salary Rogers' future with the team seems murky. The recent failed trade for Eric Wright may have saved Rogers' roster spot ... for now. If Nnamdi Asomugha has a solid training camp and preseason, Rogers may be forced to take a pay cut to avoid being cut altogether.
Why Carlos Rogers could improve in 2013
Rogers has said he'll let his play speak for itself. He's also said the plan for him this year, so far, is to have him line up on the left side and then move inside as the nickel back on third downs. Yet he lined up almost exclusively in the slot in 2011 (529 snaps in the slot vs. 179 snaps on the left). The added competition and rumors of his departure could fuel the 32-year-old veteran and push him to beat out Nnamdi Asomugha.
Rogers has never been a big interception-tallying corner. The six he recorded in 2012 were the most he recorded his entire career. His previous best was two, three times. I could argue last year's struggles were no such thing. Instead they were a return to the norm. Sure, the seven passes defended were low. Really low. But Rogers played a lot more in the slot last year and did record 56 tackles, which were the most since 2006 when he tallied 79.
Rogers has never been the type of corner he was when he arrived in 2011. He has however, been a very solid coverage and tackling corner throughout his career. While he may not be worth the remainder of his contract, he still has value to a secondary looking to regain its form after a disappointing 2012 playoffs.
Why Carlos Rogers could regress in 2013
There are some that believe the loser of the preseason position battle with Nnamdi Asomugha will be released prior to the start of the 2013 season. If Rogers does regress, it certainly won't be for lack of incentive. Rogers' potential salary in 2013 is $7.3 million. Most of Rogers's salary this season is guaranteed so even if he's released the 49ers will eat a lot of money. Still, if Rogers doesn't win the job, the 49ers would be best to move on.
Rogers was consistently targeted by opposing teams and surrendered a whopping 112.05 (179 snaps) passer rating to opposing QBs when playing on the left side. When in the slot a more respectable 89.3 (529 snaps) passer rating was earned. Rogers doesn't have to be the best he's ever been to stay on the team; he just has to be better than Asomugha. If he regresses, or doesn't earn the job, it'll likely be because of a rejuvenated Asomugha. Rogers still has some left in the tank to be a serviceable corner in this league. A large cap hit and improved competition may spell the end of Rogers in San Francisco.
Odds of making the roster
This might be the toughest call of anyone of the 49ers roster. I could say 50/50 but that's not what you want to hear. So, I'll say Rogers' chance to make the roster is about 25%. While the 49ers won't save a ton by cutting him they'd save a little and clear future space immediately. The attempted trade for Eric Wright may have been writing on the wall for Rogers. Instead, it appears he'll be given a chance to retain his job through training camp. A reworked contract would go a long way in increasing his chances to stay.