Many of the 49ers moves in 2022 NFL free agency have focused on special teams, and now they’re adding an All-Pro ace by signing George Odum.
The San Francisco 49ers haven’t given into many of the fanbase’s desires to land the biggest and most talented names in NFL free agency this offseason.
And while general manager John Lynch did make a splash signing to address arguably the Niners’ biggest positional need, inking cornerback Charvarius Ward to a significant deal, the bulk of Lynch’s free-agent pickups have focused on the overlooked-but-critical third phase of the game.
San Francisco made one more such transaction on Friday, bringing aboard former Indianapolis Colts safety George Odum on a three-year deal, as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
Odum, 28 years old, joins what’s turning into a revamped San Francisco special teams unit, one which Football Outsiders ranked a lowly 26th last season. In addition to Odum, the 49ers also signed former Green Bay Packers linebacker Oren Burks and former Pittsburgh Steelers return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud to improve that ranking heading into 2022.
The Niners can hope Odum winds up contributing on special teams, where he spent the bulk of his snaps in Indy, to the level he achieved in 2020 when he was named a first-team All-Pro for his work there.
Over his four-year career, which includes 10 defensive starts and 65 games played, Odum has recorded 150 tackles, four forced fumbles, two interceptions and four passes broken up.
What else might 49ers ask George Odum to do?
Odum has been a spot starter at various points in his career, including seven starts with the Colts a year ago.
Currently, veteran strong safety Jaquiski Tartt remains unsigned, and it’s not yet clear whether or not San Francisco will attempt to bring him back. It’s possible Odum is in the running to take over for Tartt, should the latter leave in NFL free agency, competing with depth safeties like Talanoa Hufanga for that right.
Or, just as feasibly, Odum winds up being a relatively expensive special teams upgrade, and it isn’t as if the 49ers lack a need there.
One thing is for certain, though. The Niners understand how much special teams were a problem a season ago, and they’re not planning on allowing that to be the case again in 2022.
The Odum signing is yet another example of how they’re trying to address this.