49ers free agency: Too-early look at 5 targets to go after in 2022

Cornerback Kyle Fuller #23 of the Denver Broncos (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Cornerback Kyle Fuller #23 of the Denver Broncos (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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Marcus Maye, NY Jets
New York Jets safety Marcus Maye (20) Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers NFL free agency target No. 2: Safety Marcus Maye

Risk versus reward here.

Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt makes San Francisco’s defense better when he’s on the field. The problem, though, is Tartt’s own extensive injury history makes his potential re-signing a liability. And while rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga has shown the occasional splash play here and there, he’s still nowhere close to being a reliable option in coverage.

New York Jets safety Marcus Maye, too, is coming off a serious Achilles injury and might not be completely 100-percent healthy by the time 2022 rolls around. Nevertheless, that injury setback should certainly drop whatever his free-agent asking price would be, potentially into a range where the 49ers would be comfortable.

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At 28 years old, Maye has been one of the few bright spots on what’s otherwise been an abysmal Jets defense over the years. He, too, will likely want to shake up his career at this point by joining a contender, and his recent experience working within Jets head coach Robert Saleh’s defense, one brought over from when Saleh was the Niners’ defensive coordinator, could help with the transition.

San Francisco might have to accept Maye’s injury concerns, but that might be a risk worth taking here.