No. 3: 49ers secondary is still far from set
Free safety Jimmie Ward was the only starting member of the 49ers defensive backfield under contract into the start of 2021 before the team re-signed Dontae Johnson, Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley.
Cornerback Richard Sherman still isn’t expected to return, and fellow corner Ahkello Witherspoon left in free agency for the Seattle Seahawks. Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt is also a free agent, and his injury history likely keeps the Niners from re-signing him on anything but a bargain-basement cheap deal, if any deal at all.
Verrett’s bounce-back 2020 campaign was exemplary. But he, too, has injury concerns after seeing just six regular-season games between 2016 and 2019. And being signed for only one more year, San Francisco should start thinking about long-term replacements with health on their side anyway.
There aren’t too many quality safety options in this year’s draft, although there are some notable cornerbacks, especially early.
What the 49ers were able to do to maintain some continuity in their secondary is notable. But there’s still room for both starters and quality depth.
Unless the Niners are banking on third-year pro cornerback Tim Harris, who has only seen marginal snaps on special teams, taking on a substantial role in 2021.