The Jets have signed cornerback Donald Strickland from the 49ers.
A 49ers' team that was light on cornerbacks over the weekend minicamp will not have Donald Strickland next season. Strickland has agreed to a three-year deal with the Jets, according to agent Peter Schaffer. Strickland also had visited with the Tennessee Titans. A San Francisco native, Strickland, 28, was a versatile and hard-nosed defensive back for the 49ers, starting 10 games in the last three seasons and seeing plenty of action in the team's nickel coverage packages. One of Strickland's starts this past season was against the Jets.
The 49ers' starting cornerbacks this season will be Nate Clements and Walt Harris. Both Shawntae Spencer and Tarell Brown were nursing injuries as the 49ers began their minicamp Friday while Reggie Smith is being converted into a safety. The backups for the minicamp were Marcus Hudson and Allen Rossum, the team's return specialist. The 49ers have looked at least two cornerbacks in free agency -- Eric Green and Karl Paymah. Both signed elsewhere.
The Jets will be Strickland's fourth team. He also spent time with the Eagles and Colts by whom he was selected in the third round of the 2003 Draft. Strickland lacks speed, which prevents him from offering much as a starter, but his cover skills make him a viable option to push Dwight Lowery for the nickel job. Essentially he is your replacement for Hank Poteat.
A good barometer of a move like this is seeing what fans of his former team have to say. Niners Nation seems unhappy losing him. This move may lack the sexiness of adding a starting caliber player like Samari Rolle for a backup role, but Strickland should add depth to the thinnest area on the field for this team in 2008, the secondary.