Plummer was released after playing just nine games after receiving $11 million in guaranteed money from a contract he signed in 2004. Plummer missed 10 games in 2004 with a neck injury. He missed the final 13 games of his 49ers career after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his left ankle.
"Durability is part of the kind of player you have," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "You don't evaluate guys just when they're on the field. You evaluate them when they're not on the field, too."
The previous 49ers regime complained privately that Plummer eschewed conventional treatment for a bulging disc in his neck, opting for a holistic approach. His ankle surgery was expected to keep him out of action for a month, but Nolan was clearly frustrated last season when Plummer failed to return to the playing field.
Plummer was a first-round draft pick in 2000. His best season was his second year in the league, when he recorded seven interceptions and broke up 21 passes. His play steadily declined over the next two seasons, but former general manager Terry Donahue still oversaw a deal that would have paid Plummer $25 million over five years.
The 49ers opted to release Plummer rather than pay him the $5.5 million in salary he was scheduled to earn in 2006.
The club will seek to add a starting cornerback through free agency or the draft. Shawntae Spencer, a two-year veteran, proved to be the only reliable cornerback on the 49ers' roster last season. His starting spot is virtually assured at right cornerback, but the club has a gaping hole on the other side.
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