The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the 2017 season and have begun their work to prepare for 2018 free agency and the draft. We’ll be breaking down plenty of what that means, but in the meantime, we wanted to take a look back at the season that was for the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo capture our imagination, but the 49ers rebuilding process was extensive last year. We are going to take a look at every notable addition and provide a forum for grading how that signing, trade, or draft pick worked out.
Dekoda Watson made a lot of sense as a free agent signing last March. The linebacker/special teams expert had played under DC Robert Saleh (then a linebackers coach) for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and led the Denver Broncos in special teams tackles for 2016 with 11, plus a forced fumble, a sack and six more tackles in just 44 defensive snaps.
He also added some veteran experience on a young team — at 29, he’s one of the oldest players on the Niners. The team lured him away from Denver with a three-year, $4.5 million contract.
Unfortunately, Watson’s production was way down this year. Though he was a regular on kicks, with 288 special teams snaps (62 percent of the team total), he only made four ST tackles all year, and just one in the last eight games of the year.
On defense, Watson filled in mid-season when injuries depleted the team’s linebacker corps, notching two tackles against Philadelphia, but his stat line was otherwise quiet (just four combined defensive tackles and an offsides penalty.) His backup role vanished after mid-season when Reuben Foster returned at Mike and Brock Coyle emerged as the team’s Will LB.
Watson has had a long and impressive career on special teams, winning the NFL ST Player of the Month award for November 2012. But as he nears 30, it looks like that career might be winding down.
How do you grade the Dekoda Watson free agent signing?
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