49ers roster: 5 players who won’t be back in 2022

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Josh Norman, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Josh Norman (26) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: 49ers Cornerback Josh Norman

San Francisco made 33-year-old veteran cornerback Josh Norman an emergency free-agent signing earlier this season, mandated by the fact third-round rookie corner Ambry Thomas was coming along slowly, and then magnified even more by the season-ending loss of No. 1 cornerback Jason Verrett, who should also grace the list of players who won’t be back in 2022.

For those thinking Norman’s experience and prior pedigree could help replicate the kind of impact now-Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Richard Sherman had with the 49ers between 2018 and 2020, it’s probably best to think again. Sure, it is helpful to have a veteran presence within a secondary comprised largely of younger players like Thomas and Talanoa Hufanga.

But when it’s coming at the expense of making plays, that turns into a bit of a problem.

It’s been “feast or famine” for Norman, so to speak, over his four games played with the Niners. While he broke up three passes and forced two fumbles in the loss to the Colts, he was also hit with another pass-interference call, which was declined, yet nevertheless bringing his total of flags on the season to five.

If defensive pass interference has been a negative theme for San Francisco in 2021, Norman has to be considered a primary culprit.

That won’t help warrant any would-be return next season.