Janoris Jenkins will be in line to make his 49ers debut Thursday night. Not long after signing with San Francisco’s practice squad, the veteran cornerback is now on their active roster and in position to start his 11th season.
The 49ers made Jenkins one of their gameday elevations ahead of their Week 15 matchup against the Seahawks. The team also elevated Willie Snead and signed defensive tackle Akeem Spence to their 53-man roster. While Snead and Jenkins are gameday elevations, Spence moving up from the practice squad required a roster move. The 49ers placed D-lineman Hassan Ridgeway on IR.
A.k.a. “Jackrabbit,” Jenkins has not played since being a starter in the Titans’ divisional-round game against the Bengals last season. The Titans released the journeyman in March, and not much interest appeared to come Jenkins’ way this offseason. But San Francisco, which has dealt with multiple key injuries at the cornerback spot, added him on a P-squad pact in late November.
At 34, Jenkins is the league’s oldest active corner. He has been a full-time starter for the Rams, Giants, Saints and Titans. The former second-round pick has 27 career interceptions and eight pick-sixes, ranking in a tie for eighth in NFL history in the latter category. After being charged with six touchdowns and a 100.2 passer rating allowed while in coverage last year, Jenkins did not see the Titans follow through with the second year of his two-year contract.
Ridgeway suffered a strained pec and is set to miss six to eight weeks. The team had used the former Colts and Eagles defensive tackle as a replacement for Arik Armstead, who has since returned to action. Ridgeway, who made seven starts this season, went down while playing a reserve role in Week 13. The 49ers’ No. 1-ranked defense will be shorthanded at D-tackle. Not only are Ridgeway and Javon Kinlaw out, but starter Kevin Givens is down with an MCL sprain. Givens remains on San Francisco’s active roster but is set to miss time. With the 49ers prioritizing Kinlaw and Elijah Mitchell returns from IR, Ridgeway’s season might be over. Then again, Kinlaw has not returned to practice and cannot be considered a lock to return from IR given his knee trouble. Pro Football Focus ranked Ridgeway just outside the top 60 (out of 125 qualifiers) among interior D-linemen this season.
Out of football since the Titans released him in March, Janoris Jenkins will catch on for an 11th NFL season. The 49ers added the veteran cornerback to their practice squad Monday.
A.k.a. “Jackrabbit,” the former second-round pick has bounced around since coming into the league; the 49ers are team No. 5 for the longtime starter. The 49ers will release cornerback Ka’dar Hollman from their practice squad to clear a space, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets.
Jenkins, 34, will become the league’s oldest active cornerback. He has 138 career starts and 27 interceptions on his resume. The former Rams, Giants, Saints and Titans cover man’s eight pick-sixes are tied for eighth in NFL history. His most recent defensive TD came with the Saints in 2020.
Both New Orleans and Tennessee made Jenkins a cap casualty over the past two years. The Titans gave Jenkins a two-year, $15MM deal in March 2021 and used him as a full-time player in a retooled secondary. The former Florida recruit-turned-Division II standout started 13 games and played 93% of the Titans’ defensive snaps, starting in the team’s playoff game.
While it is interesting a player with Jenkins’ accomplishments is settling for a practice squad deal, the league’s expanded P-squads during the 2020s have opened the door to many similar agreements. The 49ers lost starter Emmanuel Moseley for the season and saw Jason Verrett go down with another major injury not long after. While San Francisco’s defense (zero second-half points allowed over the past four games) is getting by fine without these veterans, Jenkins stands to provide some experience and insurance down the stretch.
The cost-cutting moves continue in Nashville. The team has released cornerback Janoris Jenkins, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The move saves the team just over $6.9MM in cap space.
The 33-year-old signed with the Titans one year ago, as they re-vamped their secondary. He represented a veteran starter to help offset the losses of Malcolm Butlerand Adoree’ Jackson, but his stay in Tennessee was short lived. In 14 games (including 13 starts), he registered 54 tackles, one interception and six pass deflections.
A second round pick in 2012, ‘Jackrabbit’ established himself as a quality starter early in his time with the Rams. He then moved on to the Giants, where he earned his only Pro Bowl nod, along with being named second-team All Pro. In 2019, New York traded him to the Saints but one year later, he found himself in the same position he is in today.
From an analytical standpoint, the veteran’s 2021 season was on par with his recent history. With a PFF grade of 65.4, he remains a solid cover man whom plenty of teams will likely be interested in. While his passing rating allowed (100.2) this year shows he may not be the high-end starter he once was, he will rank among the better options at the position on the open market.
After dismantling their cornerback corps, the Titans are starting to put pieces together at the position. They are signing veteran Janoris Jenkins, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
The Saints made Jenkins a cap casualty last week. The Titans have made both Malcolm Butler and Adoree’ Jackson cap casualties, creating major needs at this spot.
Tennessee boasted one of the worst third-down defenses in modern NFL history last season and ranked 29th against the pass. The Titans will add Jenkins, a longtime starter who has been a first-stringer with three teams, in hopes of improving here. This move comes after the team addressed its front-seven needs by agreeing to terms with Bud Dupree and Denico Autry.
In 2019, the Titans possessed a high-end group of corners in Butler, Jackson and Logan Ryan. All three are gone, leaving 2020 second-round pick Kristian Fulton and multiple vacancies at this rather important position. Jenkins, 32, profiles as a stopgap solution of sorts. He will turn 33 midway through the season but has managed to stick as a starter in multiple seasons with the Rams, Giants and Saints.
Pro Football Focus has rated Jackrabbit as an above-average corner over the past two seasons. He slotted at 42nd and 38th among qualified corners in 2019 and ’20. The Rams let Jenkins walk as a free agent in 2016; the Giants traded him in 2019. Formerly a pick-six maven, with seven return TDs as a Ram and one as a Giant, Jenkins will hope to deliver another solid season as a pro.
The Saints are releasing cornerback Janoris Jenkins, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. Jackrabbit was due to earn $11.2MM with a cap hit of $14.2MM. Instead, the Saints will cut him to save about $7MM on the books for 2021.
The Saints extended Jenkins last year, smoothing out his cap hit with a two-year, $16.75MM add-on. The new deal pushed most of Jenkins’ guaranteed cash into 2020 while effectively turning 2021 and 2022 into option years. The 32-year-old (33 in October) was claimed off waivers by the Saints in December 2019. The former Giants standout was still productive in New Orleans, but the Saints are being forced to shed veterans as the cap drops.
Starting opposite of Marshon Lattimore, Pro Football Focus graded Jenkins as the 42nd best cornerback in the NFL out of 121 qualified players last year. Lattimore — younger and cheaper than Jenkins — could be kept for the long haul if the Saints can hammer out an extension. Lattimore is currently attached to a $10.2MM fifth-year option salary. After that, the 2017 first-rounder will be extension eligible.
Effectively, this turns the veteran’s deal into a three-year, $27MM pact, with the entirety of the $10.2MM in guaranteed money coming in 2020. As Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football tweets, Jenkins basically has a pair of option years. The organization can keep him for a $10MM base salary and $1.2MM roster bonus in 2021, and they can keep him for a $5.25MM base salary and $500K roster bonus in 2022.
This isn’t a very surprising move, although there was some thought that the Saints may look to push their financial commitment to future years. Instead, the two sides apparently reached a compromise; Jenkins would get his money in 2020, and the Saints would have the flexibility to keep him in 2021 and 2022.
The 31-year-old was claimed off waived by the Saints from the Giants back in December. He ended up being productive during his New Orleans cameo; he had seven tackles, two passes defended, and one interception in two regular season games, and he added eight tackles and one forced fumble in the Saints’ playoff loss to the Vikings.
Next season, Jenkins is projected to start for the Saints opposite Marshon Lattimore.