Pat’s update: A couple hours after this posted it was announced that Eric Reid signed with the Carolina Panthers. He’s not available.
The San Francisco 49ers safety position was thought to be figured out in 2018. Eric Reid had departed since the 49ers didn’t know what to do with him and they had cheaper options available. Adrian Colbert thumped fools like the best of them, Jaquiski Tartt hit like a freight train, Jimmie Ward was the first off the bench if needed, and they had rookies Marcell Harris/D.J. Reed drafted and waiting in the wings. What could go wrong?
Well, pretty much everything.
All but the two draft picks got put on IR and the 49ers were scrambling for bodies. D.J. Reed wasn’t much help anyways as he was sent to play nickel corner for injuries at that position. Backups of backups. The lack of Eric Reid made its presence known but as things were getting bad, he had already signed with the Carolina Panthers before the any possible conversation could get started.
So it’s almost like going back to square one. Tartt hasn’t started a full season of games and while Colbert got sent to IR rather early, he didn’t look near as good. There’s the two starters right there and it’s not as shut and sealed. The 49ers are going to need a safety. Whether it’s a draft, a free agent or both, they will need to get somebody.
Which brings us to the star of the show: Earl Thomas. To sum everything up, he’s pretty much played his last game in a Seahawks uniform and will be looking to a new team. Signs point to the Dallas Cowboys (including a tampering case), but the 49ers are a definite contender. For one thing, the system fit means less time trying to learn the scheme and more time planning for the season of opponents. For another the 49ers have Richard Sherman who was a key cog with Thomas in the Seahawks Legion of Boom. The 49ers couldn’t have asked for a better salesman in that regard. Thomas has a chance to join a familiar system, with familiar teammates, and extract revenge on the Seahawks twice a year. The 49ers need him, and maybe, just maybe he needs the 49ers.
Of course, they might not get him. So who’s left? Well if we’re looking for players who want to even the score with their previous team, Tyrann Mathieu is available. While Mathieu has more experience in a 3-4 defense. He could contribute, has age on his side, and would be motivated to take out his original team, the Arizona Cardinals.
Another name is Landon Collins from the New York Giants. Collins’ 2018 was a bit of a step back from previous seasons, but he could be a solid addition to the 49ers defense just looking for something dependable. With four seasons under his belt, Collins managed to play two of them the full 16 games, one with 15 games, and the aforementioned 2018 where things were cut short due to injury. Collins is young, but could be a nice fit for the 49ers.
Reid is also available. The 49ers did make him an offer for 2018, but it was to be a backup to Tartt and Colbert. Now that his year with the Carolina Panthers has concluded, perhaps Reid and the 49ers can rekindle a discussion? Doubtful, but maybe.
Here’s the list of the free agent safeties per Over the Cap. Things could change with franchise tags and deals, but all of the below have contracts expiring. Would you be interested in any of these guys coming to Santa Clara?
Free Agent Safeties