It’s possible that Jason Verrett may be injured again in 2019. It’s possible that the former first-round draft pick out of TCU will again be unable to fulfill his promise.
But in signing Verrett to just a one-year free-agent deal this week, the 49ers are taking a semi low-risk gamble for what could be a high payoff this season.
The 49ers agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million contract with Verrett, according to NFL.com, in the hopes the former Chargers Pro Bowler can stay healthy, revive his career and give San Francisco a much-needed high-impact cornerback opposite veteran Richard Sherman.
Verrett, drafted in 2014, lost all of 2018 to injury and played just one game in 2017 and four in 2016. In his rookie season of 2014, Verrett also was hurt and played just six games.
But in 2015, his only healthy year, Verrett went to the Pro Bowl for the Chargers. The 5-foot10, 188-pounder intercepted three passes that season, had 12 passes defensed and was in on 47 tackles.
NFL.com analyst Kevin Patra noted the 49ers are getting a highly skilled cornerback – if healthy.
“Before playing just five games in the past three years, Verrett displayed the physicality, quick change of direction and ball skills to become one of the sickest corners in the NFL,” wrote Patra. “Now it’s anyone’s guess how he’ll rebound after missing a full season.”
But, he wrote, if Verrett is physically sound, the 49ers are getting “a steal.”
Verrett is coming off a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered in Chargers training camp last summer. He’ll compete with Ahkello Witherspoon – who had a disappointing season after a promising 2017 – and Tarvarius Moore. The 49ers also could draft another corner next month.
Verrett told a reporter Thursday that he’s eager for a new chance to revive his career.
“The opportunity is there for me,” he said. “Wide open for me to take it. It’s up to me to get back healthy and get back on the football field and do what I know I can do.”