Jaquiski Tartt gets one more shot with 49ers to defy injuries

Jaquiski Tartt #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Jaquiski Tartt #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

After testing NFL free agency waters for a week, safety Jaquiski Tartt is returning to the 49ers on a one-year deal despite a history of injuries.

The San Francisco 49ers are banking on veteran safety Jaquiski Tartt staying healthy over the course of a full season.

Tartt suffered a turf-toe injury after appearing in just seven games last season. Being that was a contract year, along with his lengthy injury history, many understandably assumed the Niners were going to move on in the hopes of looking at other options, both younger and cheaper, to replace him on the depth chart in 2021.

Either those options didn’t arise or Tartt’s market was too cold to completely prevent San Francisco from retaining him. And according to Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager, the 49ers will keep Tartt around for at least another year:

Tartt is a difference-maker when he’s on the field. His chemistry with free safety Jimmie Ward (they played their high school football together at Davidson in Mobile, Alabama) was made apparent during 2019 during the Niners’ run to the Super Bowl.

The problem, however, is Tartt is injury prone. Over the last four years, Tartt found his way to season-ending injured reserve three times and missed 28 regular-season games during that stretch:

Jaquiski Tartt Defense & Fumbles Table

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
Generated 3/22/2021.

At 29 years old, it’s unclear whether or not Tartt can bump the injury bug this upcoming season.

Given it’s a one-year deal, he’ll likely have to if he wants to capitalize on NFL free agency a year from now.

49ers already guarding against another Jaquiski Tartt injury?

San Francisco already had two backup safeties on the roster, Marcell Harris and Tarvarius Moore. But neither have showcased the true ability to be a primary starter, particularly in pass coverage. Moore’s 2020 pass-coverage grade was a subpar 56.1, according to Pro Football Focus, whereas Harris’ was in the 30s.

So it makes some sense the 49ers would bring aboard another free agent, former Indianapolis Colts safety Tavon Wilson, to both supplement the depth and provide an option who’s better in pass coverage than Harris and Moore.

Wilson, primarily a backup and special teams ace both last year and previously with the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots, had a 64.2 PFF pass-coverage grade last season.

That might be how the Niners’ strong safety depth chart pans out. And considering San Francisco made both the strong and free safety spots more interchangeable back in 2019 and 2020, it looks as if the team is already planning to have those five names — Ward, Tartt, Wilson, Moore and Harris — battle it out for possibly four spots on the regular-season roster.

Given Tartt’s injury reputation, though, getting someone with solid starting-caliber experience makes sense.

If Tartt stays healthy, however, it’ll do him a great deal of value in 2022 and will hopefully drive up his asking price again.

At that point, it’s anyone’s guess whether or not the 49ers would entertain another reunion.

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