49ers free agency: Predicting landing spots for top 5 free agents

Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Jason Verrett, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett (22) Mandatory Credit: San Francisco 49ers/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network /

The 49ers have some tough challenges ahead of them in NFL free agency, so Niner Noise predicts where their top five free agents end up signing in 2022.

It’s nowhere near as challenging or bad a situation as it was a year ago at this time when the San Francisco 49ers were faced with both a diminished salary cap and a swarm of high-profile free agents hitting the open market.

Nevertheless, the Niners still face some awfully difficult decisions in NFL free agency heading into the 2022 offseason.

Projected to be $4.48 million over the cap, according to Over the Cap, general manager John Lynch will have to engineer some roster jockeying in order to get under the $208.2 million threshold, and one of those moves will be bidding farewell to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, saving over $25 million in cap space.

That said, Lynch and Co. may have to bid farewell to some other notable players, too, including a few of San Francisco’s high-profile free agents.

In this piece, Niner Noise explores where the potential landing spots could be for the 49ers’ five most notable free agents (in terms of contract value) hitting the open market this offseason.

49ers free-agent No. 5: Cornerback Jason Verrett

The Niners gambled on the likelihood of veteran cornerback Jason Verrett staying fully healthy again in 2021 after he did so the previous season, playing at a high level, only to get burned by Verrett’s season-ending ACL tear in Week 1.

It was brutal news for Verrett, who signed a cheap one-year prove-it deal to eventually cash in on a sizable contract in 2022.

Turning 31 years old this offseason, Verrett would be justified in walking away from football to further protect his body. After all, between 2016 and 2019, he appeared in only six regular-season games amid a myriad of other injuries, and his returning from yet another serious setback doesn’t bode well for his NFL future.

If he chooses to stay in the league, however, it wouldn’t be overly shocking to see a team like the Denver Broncos take a flier on him. After all, during Verrett’s lone Pro Bowl season in 2015, his former defensive coordinator was John Pagano, who is still on the Broncos staff as a defensive assistant.

Denver doesn’t have too pressing of cornerback needs but might look to replace aging corner Kyle Fuller this offseason, meaning a veteran’s minimum could be in play for Verrett.

Prediction: Denver Broncos