Grading CB Jason Verrett’s re-signing with the 49ers: A

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Doug Farrar
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Per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the 49ers have re-signed cornerback Jason Verrett to a one-year contract that’s worth $5.5 million, and $1 million more if Verrett makes the Pro Bowl. If Verrett is able to finally stay healthy as he was able to in 2020, this could be one of the better free-agent signings in years. Because if Verrett had been able to stay healthy throughout his career, he probably wouldn’t have been an impending free agent. Instead, Verrett and his representatives would likely be mulling over which team’s offer of around $15 million per year would be in his best interest. That’s how great Verrett can be when he’s on the field, though it’s only been in fits and starts. Rapoport also reported that Verrett had a multi-year offer on the table, but chose to stick with the team that bet on him in 2020.

Verrett missed all but two games for the Chargers and 49ers from 2017 through 2019, including the entire 2018 season with a torn Achilles tendon. The 49ers had taken a flyer on him in 2019 and did so again for the 2020 season, with a one-year, $1,047,500 deal with $137,500 in guarantees. He was able to play in 13 games as seemingly every 49ers defensive back around him succumbed to their own injuries, and Verrett played well, as one would expect. He allowed 43 receptions on 63 targets for 382 yards, 141 yards after catch, one touchdown, two interceptions, and an opposing quarterback rating of 76.3.

Verrett has all the tools you want in an outside cornerback, but it’s his on-field acumen that sets him apart. After he broke off his coverage of Robert Woods to intercept Jared Goff’s pass to Josh Reynolds in the end zone in Week 6, Verrett was able to explain what he saw, and how he was able to fool Goff.

“I knew I was gonna get a flat route by Woods; it was in man-to-man. Once [Woods] widened himself, I just had vision back to the quarterback. I was reading Goff, and just made a play on it.”

Not that fooling Jared Goff is all that difficult, but the overarching point remains: The 49ers, who may lose cornerbacks Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams, and safety Jaquiski Tartt in free agency, made the smartest possible move in bringing Verrett back into the fold.