These two potential 49ers free agents could follow Robert Saleh to New York

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Scott Thompson
·2 min read
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Richard Sherman hugs Robert Saleh
Richard Sherman hugs Robert Saleh

The hiring of Robert Saleh as the Jets’ new head coach was met with rave reviews from players to coaches to fans. Saleh is highly respected in the league, and his high energy while on the sideline during gameday is infectious.

Saleh has seen his former 49ers players wishing him luck or saying he deserves this moment with New York. One of them happens to be veteran CB Richard Sherman – a free agent this offseason.

“The @nyjets got a great one! Congrats to them!,” Sherman wrote on Twitter.

Could Sherman find himself in green and white next season?

The Jets need cornerback help, and given his defensive prowess, Saleh might work with GM Joe Douglas to fortify that position group. And having worked with Sherman in San Francisco, there is the obvious connection with the three-time All-Pro. He also brings a leadership quality to the defense that the locker room could use.

Sherman hasn’t been as dominate a corner as he was with the Seattle Seahawks in the past, though. He played just five games in 2020 due to injury. He also let up a 116.2 quarterback rate against and 72.4 completion percentage when thrown to in those games. But Sherman did have a 63.0 quarterback rate against in 2019 during the Niners’ Super Bowl run.

If the Jets are looking for a younger option, there is another 49er expected to be on the market, too.

Jason Verrett has grown into San Fran’s top option at corner, normally running against the best receiver on the opposite sideline. And it’s been a long time coming for Verrett, who played only two games total in the previous two seasons.

Verrett had two interceptions, 60 combined tackles, seven passes defended and had a 76.2 quarterback rate against in 13 games this season. His Pro Football Focus grade of 77.6 overall was eighth among starting cornerbacks as well.

The Jets have other priorities ahead of their secondary at the moment, but the secondary needs some improvement. Saleh’s influence could lead many free agents to consider New York, but former players that have thrived in his defense may have even more interest.