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49ers GM Baalke says cornerbacks not big concern with Patrick Willis story, "Don't you think we should be doing something?"

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Patrick Willis was a great leader for the 49ers and we will miss him.

At Patrick Willis’ retirement news conference Tuesday, general manager Trent Baalke shared a story from the early part of free agency following the 2011 lockout.

After two days of inactivity from the 49ers’ front office, Willis approached Baalke. The All-Pro inside linebacker noted the team’s 6-10 record the previous year and respectfully asked: “Don’t you think we should be doing something?”

Nearly four years later, 49ers fans might have the same question as it relates to free agency and a potential issue on the Niners roster: cornerback.


Um, Trent, what’s the deal with the cornerback spot?

“Feel good about it,” Baalke insisted. “Feel real good about it.”

Baalke went on to tick off many of the aforementioned cornerbacks on the roster, but did acknowledge the 49ers would explore the position in free agency.

“We’re working on a couple other things still and then you’ve got a draft,” Baalke said. “I can see the thought process that you may have, but internally (we) feel good about the group and where it can go.”

A free-agent move at the position may not be imminent. In 2011, after all, Baalke remained patient while Willis and the riled-up fan base wondered why he was munching bonbons in his office.

But Baalke’s patience was rewarded. After the market settled, the 49ers signed key contributors such as safety Donte Whitner, center Jonathan Goodwin and cornerback Carlos Rogers.

One issue this year? The free-agent cornerback class was considered weak before the league year began and now the most attractive names are off the market.

In 2011, Baalke politely told Willis to worry about playing linebacker and trust him to assemble the roster. This week, Baalke radiated the same calm. The free-agent cornerback options are dwindling, but Baalke noted the landscape could change.

I think there is more to worry about than just the Niners' CB's...

Well Baalke says we need to trust him to assemble the roster.