San Francisco 49ers: 5 biggest injury risks in 2021
By Peter Panacy
49ers Injury Risk No. 1: Cornerback Jason Verrett
If it weren’t for now-retired quarterback Alex Smith’s miraculous comeback from a life-threatening leg injury suffered back in 2018, cornerback Jason Verrett could have easily been a top favorite for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2020.
Verrett was almost entirely healthy for the full duration of the season, essentially marking the first time this was the case since his 2015 Pro Bowl campaign with the then-San Diego Chargers.
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Between 2016 and 2019, though, Verrett’s career was one of the ultimate injury frustrations, setbacks and thoughts of premature retirement.
The Niners felt comfortable enough bringing Verrett back on a team-friendly one-year deal, banking on the health he displayed a year ago and hoping to get the same kind of Pro Bowl-caliber play he flashed over the course of 2020.
But the problem, however, is the whole body of work suggests Verrett is still a massive injury risk. After all, he saw action in a mere six regular-season games from 2016 through 2019, including playing only two defensive snaps during his first year with San Francisco.
Perhaps Verrett has figured out what it takes to stay healthy. But just like Jaquiski Tartt, it doesn’t seem likely the soon-to-be 30-year-old defensive back will suddenly transition from being an oft-injured player into one who’s constantly on the field.
That probably explains why the 49ers wanted Verrett back solely for one more year, not any time longer.