The 2012 league year officially starts on March 13 when free agency officially begins, when very team will look to better themselves by bringing in experienced veterans from around the league. Teams can re-sign their players before the 13th and they can apply the franchise tag to one player but some players will inevitably slip away.
Pro Football Weekly has recently compiled their top 100 free agents and there are four San Francisco 49ers on the list.
The first potential former 49ers player on the list is cornerback Carlos Rogers, coming it at No. 29.
Rogers starred in his first season in San Francisco, intercepting a career-best six passes for one of the NFL's top defenses. Considering his skill and how well he fit in the secondary as sort of an extra coach on the field, look for San Francisco to work to bring him back.
The second player on the list is safety Dashon Goldson, coming in at No. 32
In addition to being a physical presence on the back end of the Niners' secondary, Goldson intercepted a career-high six passes in a breakout season. The 49ers are expected to try to re-sign him, and with good reason — he's one of the top playmakers at his position.
The next on the list is quarterback Alex Smith, coming in at No. 34.
Smith took a big step forward in 2011, playing efficiently and taking care of the ball (five interceptions). The 2005 No. 1 overall pick is still relatively young, and his persistence really paid off a season ago. His stock definitely has risen.
And the last player on the list is wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., who comes in at No. 88.
Ginn has elite speed and can be a difference maker as a returner, as he showed when he returned a kickoff and a punt for scores vs. Seattle in the 2011 season opener. He also can be a vertical threat on offense.
The Niners are coming off an amazing season in which they went to the NFC Championship, and they could use the help of the guys who helped them get there in 2011 for the upcoming season.
For more on the 49ers, head to Niners Nation.