In the final stages of rehabbing his 2021 injury — an ACL tear — Jason Verrett has run into another major health issue. The 49ers announced the veteran cornerback suffered an Achilles tear in practice Wednesday.
This marks the latest in a long line of Verrett injuries. The former first-round pick has shown considerable talent when available. Unfortunately, he has rarely been available over the course of his nine-year career.
The 49ers used one of their eight injury activations on Verrett, moving him off the PUP list and onto their 53-man roster earlier this season. Verrett had not made his 2022 debut for the team; that was set to come soon. Verrett’s latest injury brings more availability trouble to what has been an injury-prone defense; the 49ers already lost starting cornerback Emmanuel Moseley for the season.
Verrett, 31, has signed four one-year deals with the 49ers. While the TCU alum’s body has betrayed him as a pro, San Francisco continued to view the former San Diego investment as a fit. During a 2020 season in which many 49ers suffered serious injuries, Verrett stayed largely healthy and thrived amid a lost campaign for the team. That led to a nice payday — one year, $5.5MM — in 2021, but the ACL tear shut Verrett down in Week 1 of last season.
During his career, Verrett has suffered two ACL tears and two Achilles tears. His previous Achilles setback came during the Chargers’ 2018 training camp. These maladies have led to Verrett spending the bulk of his NFL career in rehab settings. He has played more than six games in a season just twice — in 2015 and 2020. Those seasons produced a Pro Bowl (2015) and a top-15 Pro Football Focus ranking (2020). But injury absences have overshadowed those talent glimpses. By the end of this season, Verrett’s games-played to games-missed ratio will be 40-to-106.
It is somewhat remarkable Verrett has managed to stick around this long, all things considered. The Chargers picked up the former No. 25 overall pick’s fifth-year option in 2018, and the 49ers have continued to hold out hope he could play a key role. They re-signed Verrett to a league-minimum accord this offseason and were slow-playing his return. San Francisco kept Verrett on its PUP list to start the season, but after Moseley went down, the prospect of Verrett re-entering the team’s starting lineup was on the table.
Without Verrett and Moseley, the 49ers will need to continue their injury-related adjustments. They have made them at defensive tackle (Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw), linebacker (Azeez Al-Shaair) and at safety (Jimmie Ward). San Francisco has used Deommodore Lenoir increasingly and has dabbled with Ward, whose early-career stretch featured switches between safety and corner, back in the slot. The team also has rookie Samuel Womack and 2021 third-rounder Ambry Thomas as options behind Lenoir and Charvarius Ward.
Wednesday marked the final day the 49ers could keep Jason Verrett in designated-for-return limbo. As a result, the cornerback is back on San Francisco’s 53-man roster.
The 49ers activated the ninth-year vet from their reserve/PUP list, using the third of their injury activations to do so. Although Verrett is probably the NFL’s most injury-prone active player, he has been effective when available. Verrett’s 2020 season in San Francisco enticed the team to give the former first-rounder two additional one-year contracts. He is currently attached to a one-year deal worth just more than $1MM.
Verrett is in the final stages of recovering from his September 2021 ACL tear. Verrett’s activation seemed somewhat in doubt last week, when knee soreness, per the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch, held him out of multiple practices. Kyle Shanahan said the soreness was not related to a problem with Verrett’s fall 2021 surgery.
Considering Verrett’s past, the 49ers had planned to slow-play it with him this year. The former Chargers Pro Bowler has missed 88 games since coming into the league. This included a late-2010s span in which he played two games in three seasons. Verrett has suffered two ACL tears — one in each knee — and a torn Achilles since entering the NFL. But he made the Pro Bowl during a 14-game 2015 and excelled for the 49ers as a 13-game starter in 2020.
Emmanuel Moseley‘s season-ending ACL tear opens the door for Verrett to return to the 49ers’ lineup. That scenario is believed to be in play, despite the TCU product’s injury-marred career. It certainly cannot be assumed Verrett will stay healthy, but the 49ers’ defense has run into injury trouble at every position. Any boost the 31-year-old cover man can provide would be a bonus.
San Francisco also brought back Tevin Coleman, who was released Tuesday. Coleman is rejoining the 49ers on a practice squad deal. The 49ers changed their backfield situation last week, trading for Christian McCaffrey, but the team still has Elijah Mitchell on IR and has seen third-round rookie Tyrion Davis-Price miss time with an ankle injury.
The 49ers will soon get some reinforcement in their secondary. Safety Jimmie Ward and cornerback Jason Verrett returned to practice today, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic (on Twitter). ESPN’s Nick Wagoner tweeted yesterday that the duo was expected to return to practice. The team later announced that the duo has been designated to return.
Verrett suffered a torn ACL during Week 1 of the 2021 campaign. He landed on PUP to start the 2022 regular season, and he’ll now have three weeks to show he’s ready to return. The 31-year-old has only had one relatively healthy campaign in three-plus years with the 49ers, as he was limited to only one game in 2019 thanks to an ankle injury. He started 13 games for San Francisco in 2020, finishing with 60 tackles and a pair of interceptions.
Cornerbacks Charvarius Ward, Emmanuel Moseley, and slot Deommodore Lenoir played 100 percent of San Francisco’s defensive snaps on Monday. Verrett probably won’t knock any of them out of the starting lineup, but he’ll help provide some experienced depth at the position.
Ward suffered a hamstring injury during the preseason, landing him on injured reserve. The 2014 first-round pick struggled with injuries early in his career but has been pretty healthy recently, missing only six games for the 49ers between 2019 and 2021. Last year, he started a career-high 16 games and finished with 77 tackles and two interceptions.
Both Talanoa Hufanga and Tashaun Gipson have filled in nicely for the veteran safety to start the 2022 campaign. Hufanga, a 2021 fifth-round pick, would likely be knocked to a backup role with Ward back in the lineup, although he’s ranked as PFF’s second-best safety in the NFL this year (among 82 qualifying players).
Following the Chiefs’ lead, the Cardinals used a position player as their emergency kicker Sunday. Backup running back Eno Benjamin logged a kickoff for the Cardinals against the Panthers on Sunday. That arrangement, similar to the Chiefs’ usage of safety Justin Reid against the Cards in Week 1, will not persist past Week 4. With Matt Prater battling a right hip injury, the Cardinals worked out multiple kickers Monday.
Rodrigo Blankenship, Matt Ammendola — the Chiefs’ first post-Reid solution to fill in for Harrison Butker — Jose Borregales and Jonathan Garibay auditioned for the Cardinals, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Blankenship, whom the Colts turned to in their first full season without Adam Vinatieri, missed much of last year with an injury and was removed from his gig after struggling in Week 1 this year. Blankenship worked out for the Jaguars last week. Ammendola lasted two games as the Chiefs’ Butker fill-in, being cut after struggling in Week 3, while Garibay was part of the Cowboys’ kicking competition. The rookie UDFA did not make it out of training camp.
Ahead of Monday’s Rams-49ers matchup, here is the latest from the NFC West:
- Although the 49ers turned to Jaylon Moore to replace Trent Williams in Week 3, Colton McKivitz will start against the Rams on Monday night. An ankle injury prevented McKivitz from replacing Williams against the Broncos, who pounced after the All-Pro’s exit, but he was the team’s swing tackle throughout the summer. With Williams facing a four- to six-week recovery timetable, McKivitz may have the blindside gig for a bit. The 49ers let 2021 swing tackle Tom Compton sign with the Broncos, but McKivitz — who filled in for Williams in a do-or-die Week 18 tilt in Los Angeles — has been with the team since arriving as a 2020 firth-rounder.
- The 49ers have made a few changes at the slot cornerback spot over the past several weeks. After Darqueze Dennard entered camp with the job, rookie Samuel Womack supplanted him and led to the 49ers releasing the veteran. Deommodore Lenoir has since replaced Womack, with Kyle Shanahan indicating the 2021 fifth-rounder played ahead of the 2022 fifth-rounder due to superior practice work recently, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Lenoir played 29% of San Francisco’s defensive snaps last season but likely does not have a firm grip on the job over Womack, who impressed during training camp, just yet.
- Staying on the subject of 49ers corners, Shanahan expressed optimism Jason Verrett would practice this week. Verrett’s practice window opens ahead of Week 5, with the 49ers carrying the injury-prone vet on their reserve/PUP list. Should Verrett prove recovered from his September 2021 ACL tear, Barrows notes a starting job should not be ruled out. Verrett played well as a 49ers starter in 2020, showing form that enticed the team to re-sign him in 2021 and this year. Emmanuel Moseley‘s past in the slot could allow for a transition, forming a Verrett-Mosley-Charvarius Ward trio, if Verrett is healthy.
- Sean McVay did not seem to expect Van Jefferson to miss a third of the season, but that will happen. The Rams placed Jefferson on IR ahead of their Week 3 game, but McVay is adamant the third-year wideout did not suffer a setback upon returning from arthroscopic knee surgery, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com tweets. Jefferson’s IR move was more about roster construction, and The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue adds (via Twitter) the Rams expect their WR3 to be back when first eligible in Week 8 (following the team’s Week 7 bye).
- Seahawks cornerback Tre Brown will not be ready to return when first eligible to come off the team’s PUP list. Pete Carroll confirmed the third-year corner remains a few weeks away, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson (on Twitter). Brown missed last season’s first five games and was down for their final seven, with a Nov. 21 knee injury leading to the latter hiatus. Seattle’s cornerback room has changed considerably since Brown last played; it will be interesting to see what role the 2021 fourth-rounder will play upon returning.
Tuesday marked the day teams were forced to cut down from 85 to 80 players. Here are the moves teams made made to reach the new maximum. Players who land on the reserve/PUP or reserve/NFI list must miss at least the first four regular-season games.
- Waived: P Nolan Cooney, CB Cortez Davis, TE Josh Hokit, RB T.J. Pledger
- Waived/injured: CB Darrell Baker Jr.
- Released: WR Geronimo Allison, CB Lafayette Pitts, WR Auden Tate
- Waived: OLB Kuony Deng
- Waived/injured: DL Jalen Dalton
- Released: T Julie’n Davenport
- Waived: FB Jake Bargas, CB BoPete Keyes, DT LaCale London, WR Dazz Newsome
- Placed on IR: TE Jeremy Sprinkle
- Waived/injured: LB Christian Sam
- Waived: K Lirim Hajrullahu, CB Quandre Mosely, WR Jaquarii Roberson
- Released from IR via injury settlement: DB Kyron Brown, WR Ty Fryfogle, RB Ryan Nall
- Waived: LB Shaun Dion Hamilton
Green Bay Packers
- Waived: C Alex Mollette, RB C.J. Verdell
Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers
- Signed: CB Michael Jacquet
- Waived/injured: CB Tevaughn Campbell, LB Damon Lloyd, OLB Ty Shelby
- Placed on reserve/NFI list: TE Stone Smartt
- Placed on reserve/PUP list: LB Ryan Connelly, WR Blake Proehl
- Waived: TE Shaun Beyer, CB Harrison Hand
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
- Placed on reserve/PUP list: OL Nick Gates, T Matt Peart
- Placed on IR: ILB Darrian Beavers (story), TE Andre Miller, TE Ricky Seals-Jones
New York Jets
- Placed on reserve/PUP list: TE Tyree Jackson, OL Brett Toth
- Waived: CB Josh Blackwell, RB DeAndre Torrey, T Jarrid Williams
- Released: OLB Genard Avery
- Waived: WR Christian Blake, RB Mataeo Durant, QB Chris Oladokun, K Nick Sciba
San Francisco 49ers
- Placed on reserve/PUP list: DT Kalia Davis, CB Jason Verrett (story)
- Released: TE Tanner Hudson
- Waived: LB Jeremiah Gemmel
- Waived/injured: OL Sam Schlueter
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Waived/injured: TE Bug Howard
- Placed on reserve/PUP list: K Caleb Shudak
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.
Today’s minor NFL transactions, including a handful of notable names landing on the physically unable to perform list and the non-football injury list as teams open up camp:
- Placed on NFI: WR Marquise Brown
- Waived: DB Allie Green, OL Willie Wright
- Placed on PUP: OT Jack Conklin, CB Denzel Ward
- Placed on NFI: DT Sheldon Day, LB Anthony Walker Jr.
- Placed on non-football illness: WR Javon Wims
Green Bay Packers
Kansas City Chiefs
- Placed on PUP: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Las Vegas Raiders
- Activated from NFI: DT Vernon Butler
Los Angeles Chargers
- Placed on PUP: LB Kenneth Murray
- Released with NFI designation: WR Cody Core
- Placed on NFI: CB Nate Hairston
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
- Signed: S Andrew Adams, WR Marcus Kemp, OT Kamaal Seymour
- Released: DB Maurice Canady
- Waived: DB Henry Black, DT Jabari Ellis, WR Travis Toivonen
- Placed on PUP: C Nick Gates, OT Matt Peart, WR Sterling Shepard
- Placed on NFI: LB Azeez Ojulari
New York Jets
- Signed: WR/PR Rashard Davis, QB Chris Streveler, OL Isaiah Williams
- Released: CB Craig James, WR D.J. Montgomery, OL Dru Samia
- Signed: TE Jaedan Graham, DT Kobe Smith
- Waived: WR Josh Hammond
- Waived with NFI desgination: DT Noah Elliss
- Placed on NFI: S Minkah Fitzpatrick
San Francisco 49ers
- Signed: DT Robert Nkemidiche
- Placed on PUP: CB Jason Verrett, TE Charlie Woerner
- Placed on NFI: DT Kalia Davis
- Signed: TE Jake Hausmann
- Waived with failed physical designation: LB Ben Burr-Kirven
- Placed on PUP: CB Tre Brown, LB Jon Rhattigan, OT Liam Ryan, OLB Tyreke Smith
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Waived: TE Codey McElroy
Here are some details on deals recently reached around the NFL:
- Grady Jarrett, DT (Falcons): Three-year, $50.47MM. The contract, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports, includes a guaranteed amount of $34.47MM consisting of a $16.5MM signing bonus and the full amounts of the 2022 and 2023 base salaries worth $1.47MM and $16.5MM, respectively. The deal includes roster bonuses of $1MM each due on the fifth day of the 2024 league year and the 2025 league year. Jarrett’s base salary for the 2024 and 2025 seasons will see an increase of $500,000 each if he makes the Pro Bowl in the 2023 or 2024 seasons, respectively.
- Jordan Akins, TE (Giants): One-year, $1.09MM. The deal, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, is composed of a base salary of $1.04MM with a signing bonus $50,000. Under the veteran salary benefit, Akins will only have a salary cap hit of $945,000.
- Rasheem Green, DE (Texans): One-year, $3.25MM. The contract, according to Wilson, includes a guaranteed amount of $1MM consisting of a $500,000 signing bonus and $500,000 of the base salary worth $1.5MM total. Green will receive a $500,000 workout bonus and a per game active bonus of $44,177 for a potential season total of $750,000.
- Jason Verrett, CB (49ers): One-year, $1.04MM. Verrett’s deal has an injury waiver which leaves none of the money guaranteed for the 30-year old who has spent his fair share of time on the injured reserve during his career. Under the veteran salary benefit, Verrett will only have a salary cap hit of $895,000.
- Geno Smith, QB (Seahawks): Refiled one-year, $3.5MM. Original details posted here. The deal, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $500,000 and a base salary of $1.26MM. The contract lists a roster bonus of $1.69MM and a workout bonus of $50,000. Additionally there is a Week 1 roster bonus of $585,000 due to Smith on September 15. Smith will receive a per game bonus of $30,000 whether active or inactive with that bonus increasing to $65,000 if Smith is active for a low season total of $510,000 and a potential season total of $1.12MM if Smith spends the entire season on the active roster. We mentioned Smith’s $3.5MM worth of potential incentives in the first post, but Wilson details that those incentives will be based on playtime, playoffs, passing yards, and whether or not Smith is voted to the Pro Bowl.
- Mitchell Trubisky, QB (Steelers): Incentive details for two-year, $14.29MM contract. Original details posted here. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the incentives are as follows: in 2022, Trubisky is due $1MM if he hits 60% of the team’s playtime, $1.5MM if he hits 70%, $2MM if he hits 80%, $2.5MM if he hits 70% and the Steelers make the playoffs, and $4MM if he hits 80% and the team makes the playoffs. He’ll earn an additional $250,000 if he makes the Pro Bowl. If Trubisky hits the 60% mark of playtime in 2022, he’ll earn a roster bonus in March of 2023 worth $1MM. That roster bonus elevates to $4MM if he triggers the 70% bonus from 2022. The same playtime, playoff, and Pro Bowl incentives will be in place for the 2023 season, as well, just without the following year roster bonus.
For the third straight year, the 49ers are signing veteran cornerback Jason Verrett. The team also confirmed that, once again, he is inking a one-year deal.
Verrett, 30, was a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2014. He flashed potential throughout his time with the team, including a Pro Bowl 2015 campaign. That year, he posted 47 tackles, three interceptions and 12 pass deflections. Injuries have become a major issue during his NFL tenure, however, including a torn Achilles which cost him the entire 2018 season.
That led him to San Francisco on his first one-year flier. An ankle injury limited him to a single game, though. The 49ers took another chance on him one year later, and saw he much more success that time around. In 13 games, the TCU product made a career-high 60 tackles, adding a pair of interceptions along the way. That was rewarded with another one-year deal from the team, as San Francisco looked to keep as much of its secondary intact given the departure of Richard Sherman.
Unfortunately, Verrett’s third season in the Bay Area went much like the first. He suffered a torn ACL during Week 1, leaving him with, essentially, yet another lost season. As a result, this latest deal likely won’t have the $5.5MM maximum value of his last one, though it wouldn’t come as a surprise for it to once again be incentive-laden. At a minimum, he will be able to provide experience to the 49ers’ secondary as they look to make another deep playoff run.