Each year, we run a series of post called “90-in-90” here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we’ll take a look at every single player on the San Francisco 49ers roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we’ll have more than one so it’s not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
We’ve opened the 90-in-90 series looking at players we’re mostly familiar with. Aldrick Robinson is on the lower end of that scale, but the players have been at least a little higher on the radar to date. Today, we go a little further down the rabbit hole on the defensive side of the ball with safety Don Jones. Well, sort of defense given that Jones is more likely to make any kind of impact on special teams.
The 49ers signed Jones to a two-year deal on March 10, 2017. It was after the first big wave of signings, but was still relatively early in free agency. An early signing is not always indicative of expected impact, but a signing the first week of free agency vs. sometime in May or June is going to get me thinking a little bit.
However, Jones did not get a chance to make an impact. After a busy preseason on defense and special teams, he tore his ACL and was placed on season-ending injured reserve. He returns this year looking to compete primarily for a special teams role, having played three total regular season defensive snaps in his career before joining the 49ers.
Age: 27 (turns 28 on May 14)
Experience: 5 accrued season
Weight: 195 pounds
Entering the second season of his two-year contract. He is due $975,000 in base salary and a $100,000 roster bonus. His cap hit for this year is $1.1 million. If he is released or traded, the team will clear $975,000 in cap space.
What to expect in 2018
Given that Jones missed last season with a torn ACL, there is less to be said about why he might improve and why he might regress. We will go with “what to expect in 2018” for players coming off season-long IR and rookies.
If Jones makes the roster, it will be in an exclusively special teams role. He would likely serve in an emergency safety role, but barring a rash of injuries in a game, special teams is where he would earn his paycheck.
Odds of making the roster
I listed Jones as strong bubble in our post-draft bubble watch, but I’m wondering if I am overestimating Jones’ roster chances. I had him off the roster in my training camp and preseason roster projections, but we also don’t really know what the team thought of him as training camp was coming to a close. The addition of multiple defensive backs does not bode well for a player like Jones. I’m leaning more towards weak bubble the more I think of it.