The 49ers signed 25-year old cornerback and return specialist Perrish Cox this morning to a two-year contract.
This could signal the end for Carlos Rogers and Ted Ginn Jr. in red and gold.
Cox will most likely compete with Tramaine Brock for the third CB job, while Chris Culliver and Tarell Brown will start.
On special teams, Cox could take Ginn’s job as the primary returner. He returned punts and kicks in college, averaging 11.6 yards per punt return and 24 yards per kick return.
Cox (6-0, 198 lbs.) was initially considered a first-round talent when he declared for the draft in 2010, but he ran a slow 40 yard dash and he got arrested for driving on a suspended license, so he dropped to the fifth round before getting drafted by the Broncos, where he played under current Niners’ defensive backs coach, Ed Donatell.
On December 9, 2010, Cox was charged with felonious sexual assault, but he was acquitted on March 2nd, 2012.
Cox will need to show he’s faster than he was a couple years ago at the NFL Combine if he wants to beat Brock for the No. 3 CB, but he should have the inside track to win the return specialist job.
This move leaves the Niners significant cap space to sign a wide receiver like Joshua Morgan, Laurent Robinson or Pierre Garçon. Trent Baalke is being shrewd. He doesn’t need to overspend on Rogers or any CB while the team has one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. The team needs better receivers, period. Spend on the pressing need. And that’s what he appears to be doing.
Final note: The Niners first two free agent signings are players who did not play last year and who have troubled histories, so Harbaugh is banking big-time on the strength of the locker room and his leadership ability.