AUGUST 23: The ninth-year cornerback will indeed miss at least the 49ers’ first four games this season. Verrett landed on the 49ers’ reserve/PUP list Tuesday. GM John Lynch said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, on Twitter) Verrett has not endured any setbacks in his recovery from an ACL tear. Given Verrett’s extensive injury history, it is unsurprising the 49ers are proceeding with caution here.
AUGUST 10: Despite having made a good case to be labeled the NFL’s most injury-prone active player, Jason Verrett has continued to receive opportunities. The 49ers have now given the former first-round pick three contracts.
Verrett, now 31, is on the team’s active/PUP list. While the ninth-year cornerback is aiming to begin the season on time, Kyle Shanahan cautioned that a past instance of hurrying back from injury proved costly. In 2019, Verrett was coming off an Achilles tear and a preseason ankle injury. He returned in Week 3 but played just four snaps. That turned out to be Verrett’s only action all season.
“If he comes back Week 1, Week 4, Week 8, the end of the year — everyone knows how talented a player he is,” Shanahan said, via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows (subscription required). “I thought the first year we had him here was similar and I thought we brought him back a hair too early.”
Last season, Verrett went down with a torn ACL in Week 1, marking another September setback. From 2017-21, the former Chargers draftee played more than one game in a season just once. Amid a torrent of 49ers injuries in 2020, Verrett stayed relatively healthy. He played 13 games and was one of the team’s top defenders, leading to one-year, $5.5MM 49ers deal in 2021. Because of Verrett’s latest injury, he signed for the league minimum this year.
The former No. 25 overall pick’s resiliency certainly cannot be questioned. Injuries have wrecked six of the eight seasons he has played. The TCU product has torn both his left and right ACLs as a pro and encountered setbacks in other seasons that led to shutdowns. The two seasons in which Verrett has logged heavy participation — 2015 and ’20 — have ended with a Pro Bowl (2015) and a top-10 Pro Football Focus grade (2020). That has kept the 49ers interested in seeing if Verrett can put it together again. Even considering the numerous chances the 5-foot-10 cover man has received, it is hard not to view 2022 as his last chance.
The 49ers are expected to use Emmanuel Moseley and free agent signing Charvarius Ward as their starting outside cornerbacks, with Darqueze Dennard leading the way to be the team’s slot corner. Verrett returning early in the season, however, would supply San Francisco with strong depth at this position. The 49ers moving him to their reserve/PUP list, mandating a four-game absence, would also make sense considering the extensive injury history in this case.