4 SF 49ers who helped 2021 free-agent value with win vs. Cardinals
By Peter Panacy
The SF 49ers pulled off an upset with over the Cardinals in Week 16, and these pending free agents upped their 2021 price tag.
The SF 49ers embraced the spoiler role fully in Week 16 by knocking off the playoff-hopeful Arizona Cardinals 20-12 in what turned into a defensive masterpiece by coordinator Robert Saleh and a number of players under his tutelage.
Shocking, considering how much trouble the Niners had with Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins way back in Week 1 this season.
Murray, Hopkins and the Arizona offense netted 350 yards of offense. But the mere 12 points scored tells you what you need to know. Meanwhile, No. 3 quarterback C.J. Beathard picked up his second win ever as a starter and managed to toss three touchdowns against zero interceptions en route to the victory.
Again, not something many would have predicted.
Still, the big-picture focus for San Francisco is on the upcoming offseason where 40 players are scheduled to hit some form of free agency. A number of those free agents stood out in Week 16, too, certainly upping their value and potentially setting themselves up for a better contract in 2021.
Whether or not any deals wind up being with the SF 49ers is another matter.
No. 4: SF 49ers Cornerback Jason Verrett
Cornerback Jason Verrett‘s 2020 story has been epic. After years of dealing with serious injuries and seeing action in just six regular-season games between 2016 and 2019, Verrett should at least be in the chatter for this year’s Comeback Player of the Year award.
More importantly for Week 16, Verrett was a key reason why the Niners pulled off the victory.
Verrett had seven tackles in the game, including one for a loss. But it was his key pass breakup that stood out the most.
With 45 seconds left in the first half, Murray targeted Hopkins in the end zone, and it looked as if the perennial All-Pro wideout was going to haul in the pass with Verrett in coverage, only to see the cornerback jar the ball loose from Hopkins’ otherwise exceptionally strong hands.
The pass fell incomplete, and Arizona would settle for a field goal.
Verrett, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2021, looked like his 2015 Pro Bowl self both on this individual play and throughout the game, playing a major role in shutting down the Cardinals’ vaunted pass attack.