With San Francisco 49ers’ CB Chris Culliver returning from a torn ACL suffered in 2013 Training Camp, it will be a huge lift for the Niners secondary. A player that tied for the team-lead in pass break-ups (14) just two years ago, his presence should be felt, as he continues to be one of the top young cornerbacks in the NFL. And in a time where the 49ers cornerback position wears thin, with the uncertain future of CB Tarell Brown and top cap-casualty CB Carlos Rogers, the 49ers could very well be looking at CB Tramaine Brock and Culliver as the 2014 starters.
A scenario that I would be in favor of, as Culliver has the H-W-S (Height, Weight, Speed) to stay with big bodied receivers, Culliver would be a nice upgrade to Rogers. Time and time again Rogers gets burned on the daily and with him scheduled to make $6.6 million in 2014, you can be sure the 49ers will ask him to take a significant pay-cut or cut ties with him, leaving the latter to be all but set in stone. Compare that gigantic 2014 salary to Culliver’s $1.389 million and you can see why Culliver makes the most sense.
A rookie contract that saw Culliver’s pay increase from $645,000 to $1.389 million due to PPE (Proven Performance Escalators), Culliver should get the opportunity to start in 2014. And with the 49ers saving millions of dollars, that will now allow them more flexibility to lock up their No. 1 priority and team MVP WR Anquan Boldin.
And while many people believe Culliver to be somewhat of a liability due to last year’s Super Bowl, I can assure you it was more due to the lack of pass-rush. Not to mention, people tend to forget that Culliver was the man responsible for sealing a 49ers victory on opening day against the Green Bay Packers with a pass break-up on WR Jordy Nelson while also coming up with a crucial interception in the NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons, Culliver will prove his doubters wrong in 2014, mark my words.
With the 2014 season upon us and free-agency set to begin on March 11, look for the 49ers to release Rogers while naming Culliver the starter. A player that I believe to have Pro Bowl talent, look for Cully to take advantage of the opportunity as I predict him to have a 2014 stat line around 55 tackles, six interceptions, and 18 passes defensed.