SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Cornerback Carlos Rogers is returning to the San Francisco 49ers just as he had hoped — and bringing him back keeps one of the NFL's top defenses intact heading into 2012.
It's clear the 49ers are working furiously at building another team to contend for a shot at the Super Bowl.
Rogers has agreed on a $31.3 million, four-year contract, a person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had yet to formally announce the deal. Rogers still needs to travel to the Bay Area in order to sign, and that could take a couple of days.
The 30-year-old Rogers and safety Dashon Goldson shared the team lead with six interceptions each last season for the NFC West champion 49ers. Rogers had said he wanted to stay put with the Niners on a long-term deal.
"I'm excited about all the moves they made, especially keeping the defense the same," Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore said Wednesday in a phone interview from Miami. "It was one of the best defenses last year. If they come back and play together they can be even better. We're going to be a good team."
It's been quite the week for the 49ers, who are gearing up for another playoff run after losing 20-17 in overtime of the NFC championship game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants. On Monday, San Francisco signed wide receiver Randy Moss after he spent 2011 out of football, then brought in cornerback Perrish Cox on Tuesday to join a talented secondary that also includes safety Donte Whitner.
Gore is confident that the combination of Moss, Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis will open up the field and keep defenses guessing.
"Signing Randy Moss is really big for us. People have to respect him because of what he's done in this league as one of the best receivers and a future Hall of Famer," Gore said. "It's going to be big. Especially when you've got Vernon Davis, Crabtree, Randy Moss, players who can make plays, that should be easy on me.
Moss vowed to be a positive influence despite his reputation for taking plays off and not going hard in practice. Gore isn't worried about Moss disrupting a strong chemistry.
"I think he will (fit in). I know Coach (Jim) Harbaugh and (general manager) Trent Baalke, they have a great eye for talent. If they made that choice, I think that's great," Gore said.
The team is still working to re-sign quarterback Alex Smith, with the sides saying the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick was weighing a three-year offer. Smith's comeback season in 2011 under former NFL quarterback Harbaugh proved pivotal to the team ending an eight-year drought without a playoff berth or winning record. Smith took his share of boos and criticism during his initial six up-and-down seasons in the league.
The 49ers and Smith made it clear they wanted to get something done during the offseason to keep Smith with his only NFL franchise. Smith is represented by Tom Condon and CAA Sports, and Condon is also working to get Peyton Manning signed with a new team — so there is some thinking that might happen before Smith re-signs. Condon and others in his agency haven't responded to multiple messages seeking an update on negotiations.
"Alex, he's a tough guy. I like him a lot, especially with all the stuff he went through and getting put in the situations Coach Harbaugh put him in and believing in him," Gore said. "He got the chance he really never had there from an offensive standpoint. It showed he can play ball. He went through a whole lot, man. I think Alex is going to take his game to a whole other level, especially coming off the year he just had."