The 49ers are placing a lot of faith in their training and medical staffs, as Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle observes (Twitter link). The club’s two major offseason acquisitions, Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford, come with medical red flags, as do new cornerback Jason Verrett and the recently re-signed Jimmie Ward. But Verrett could offer the most bang for San Francisco’s buck.
Verrett’s one-year deal carries a cap charge of just $1.5MM and maxes out at just $3MM. As Branch writes in a separate piece, Verrett has been told that the starting cornerback position opposite Richard Sherman is up for grabs, and Verrett, a 2015 Pro Bowler, is determined to make the most of his chance. He said, “[t]he opportunity is there for me. Wide open. It’s just there for me to take. It’s just for me to get back healthy and get back there on the football field and do what I love to do.” Verrett’s primary competition for the job is Ahkello Witherspoon and Tarvarius Moore.
Now for more from the NFC:
- Eli Manning will not collect his $5MM roster bonus until tomorrow, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv (via Twitter). It had previously been reported that Manning earned his bonus yesterday, all but ensuring that he will remain with the Giants in 2019. But Vacchiano says Manning is still expected to return next season and that he will not be cut within the next 24 hours.
- Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes that the Giants are very excited about the acquisition of Jabrill Peppers, part of New York’s return in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. Per Schwartz, Big Blue sees Peppers as a classic strong safety, but the club will take full advantage of his versatility. Peppers will not line up in the same position from snap to snap and will be asked to line up deep, up near the line, at slot cornerback, and at nickel linebacker. New York brass has been heavily criticized for the OBJ deal, but if Peppers can live up to his draft pedigree, that will go a long way towards the Giants’ rebuild.
- Eagles top personnel executive Howie Roseman has made it abundantly clear that he does not value the running back position, as Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com observes. Roseman has invested neither top dollar nor top draft capital in running backs, and that remains an area of glaring need at the moment. But since Roseman has built a strong offense and a roster that is in win-now mode, and since he has again avoided the free agent market for running backs, one has to think that he will use one of his three picks in the first two rounds of the 2019 draft to add some talent to the offensive backfield.
- The Packers made a rare foray into the top end of the free agent market this year, and thus far they have dished out free agent contracts with a total value of $184MM (though less than one-third of that figure is guaranteed). But as Pete Dougherty of PackersNews.com notes, Green Bay ranks near the bottom of the league in 2020 salary cap room, and it opted for smaller salary cap hits on its big-ticket FAs this year in exchange for bigger hits down the road. That means that at least a couple of the club’s major signees — Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos, and Billy Turner — will have to pan out, and GM Brian Gutekunst will have to have a successful draft in order to field a competitive team over the next several seasons, as he will not be able to splurge again next year.