There are still plenty of names available in free agency that could help the San Francisco 49ers. Because you know their name, doesn’t mean they can help. The Niners can use depth at a few positions, and possible starters at others. Safety isn’t one of them. There are two popular names that are still out there. The 49ers should avoid both of them.
S Tre Boston
One of the most popular names out there. It seems like every offseason Boston is available this time of year. I know he plays free safety, but there are a few reasons the team should stay away. The biggest one is tackling. What got the defense into trouble last year? Missed tackles. In 2018, Boston missed a tackle 16% of the time when he went for an attempt. For comparison, Jimmie Ward missed just over 5% of the time. With safety being the last line of defense, that’s a problem.
Boston is limited as well. In today’s NFL, you need guys that can play all over the place. Boston is at his best when he plays single-high safety. He’s not physical enough to play in the box, nor does he have the experience in the slot.
This is one of those times where Boston isn’t asked to do much, so his PFF grade is higher than his actual performance. He’ll have a couple splash plays, but there are some obvious issues with Boston in coverage that are being ignored.
S Eric Berry
I’m not surprised that fans—not just of the 49ers—want Berry. He is without question the biggest name out there. Most fans will remember his play in 2016, where Berry was a candidate for defensive player of the year. Since then, Berry has played three total games. The 49ers already took a flyer on an injury-riddled talent in the secondary once this free agency. Expecting Berry to return to form on the wrong side of 30 is asking for it. Hard pass.
The team had their chance to add a safety in the draft. It was a deep class. While it was surprising that they didn’t add a safety, Boston and Berry aren’t the impact starters that they’re being made out to be. While I understand that this isn’t popular, both players bring more risk than reward. Because of that, I would stand pat with what’s on the roster.