It’s become something of a tradition for the 49ers, regularly signing and re-signing Dontae Johnson, and they’re doing it again in 2022.
For a long time, veteran cornerback Dontae Johnson has been the 53rd player on a 53-man roster for the San Francisco 49ers.
On one hand, it’s not a good position to be in. Anytime the Niners need to make another roster move during the regular season, he’s the first one to be released.
However, for whatever reasons, he’s the first player to be called back when there’s a new roster opening.
Well, the inevitable takes place another time with Johnson entering the pool of NFL free agency in 2022, only to stick around with San Francisco for one more season, re-signing with the team on a one-year deal, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who cited Johnson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
Tack on one more line of the 49ers realizing they can’t live without Johnson on the roster.
All kidding aside, the 30-year-old Johnson has been a serviceable depth piece to the Niners secondary over the years, appearing in 16 games last year and starting three of them, finishing 2021 with 30 tackles, two passes broken up, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
And while San Francisco made its big-ticket NFL free agency signing by adding former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward, Johnson will at least compete for a depth spot during training camp and could potentially remain as a backup option to support both boundary and nickel roles during the regular season.
Although the 49ers may have to release him and re-sign him a few more times along the way. That seems to be the norm.
49ers also bring back RB Jeff Wilson Jr. in NFL free agency
Johnson isn’t the only familiar face coming back to the Niners.
As announced on his Instagram, veteran running back Jeff Wilson Jr. is coming back to San Francisco:
Wilson, 26 years old, didn’t see quite as much action last year as compared to his relative breakout campaign in 2020 where he led San Francisco with 600 rush yards and 10 all-purpose touchdowns, instead rushing for only 294 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Still, after the 49ers lost veteran runner Raheem Mostert in free agency to the upstart Miami Dolphins, Wilson’s place on the depth chart seems much safer, and his role will remain as a reserve option in support of the presumed No. 1 ball-carrier on the depth chart, second-year pro Elijah Mitchell.
Mitchell does have an injury history, albeit only recently, playing just 11 games his rookie season. And while the Niners will look to get more out of their third-round NFL Draft pick a year ago, Trey Sermon, re-signing Wilson helps guard against another disappointing year from Sermon and/or an injury situation with Mitchell.
Not flashy re-sign deals, of course, but San Francisco surely values both Johnson and Wilson.