The San Francisco 49ers continue their search for secondary depth. Entering the second week of free agency, the 49ers are set to host former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Jaylen Watkins for a visit on Wednesday, according to NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo.
Watkins was a restricted free agent this season, but the Eagles did not choose to tender him. The Eagles drafted Watkins in 2014, using the first pick of the fourth round. He has appeared in 36 games, with five starts over the past three years. Although he has been in the NFL for four years, he only accrued three seasons of service time after spending a chunk of 2015 on the Buffalo Bills practice squad. A player needs four accrued seasons to be an unrestricted free agent. However, the Eagles decision not to tender him means he is able to sign elsewhere with no restrictions.
The Eagles’ decision to not tender him was due to financial considerations. He likely would have received an original round tender that gave them right of first refusal on a contract, but the Eagles currently have approximately $7 million in cap space.
Watkins has played both cornerback and safety. The 49ers need depth primarily at cornerback, but we saw last year how injuries could ravage the safety position, so depth at both positions is welcome. The most randomly interesting fact about Watkins is that Sammy Watkins is his half brother.