Kyle’s update, 12:07 p.m.: The Niners have signed Clinton-Dix. This comes after Kyle Shanahan had this to say about Jaqusiki Tartt on Tuesday: “I mean, not moving very fast right now. He hasn’t been out there. I know he missed the time with COVID and I don’t know how long he’s going to stay on PUP, but I don’t see him coming back soon right now.”
The good news for Tony Jefferson is that he has a new number. With Mark Fields waived, Jefferson pounced on the opportunity to ditch No. 41 and jump on No. 25. The bad news for Jefferson is that he suffered a groin/hamstring tweak that will sideline him, forcing the 49ers to work out multiple safeties.
The most recognizable name San Francisco worked out was former Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He started 16 games for the Bears in 2019. HCD was a free agent heading into 2020 but was cut by the Dallas Cowboys before the season started. He’s still only 28, but he’s available during the second week of August for a reason.
Before his ‘19 season with the Bears, HCD had started 90 of a possible 96 games. Durability hasn’t been an issue, as he hasn’t missed a game since his rookie year in 2014.
Clayton Geathers, 29, opted out of the 2020 regular season. He played for the Indianapolis Colts from 2015-19 and started in 34 of a possible 56 games, including ten during the 2019 season. As you’ll see with most of these safeties, they all played in the box and not deep. Geathers allowed 79% of his targets to be completed, including three touchdowns.
Bradley McDougald should be a familiar name, as he spent three years starting with the Seattle Seahawks. McDougald started seven games with the Jets last season before suffering a shoulder injury that landed him on the injured reserve.
If I were to bet, McDougald would be the best fit between all of the safeties the 49ers worked out. He’s the best tackler and can play both short and deep, which is needed in this defense.
Andrew Sendejo was the final safety the team worked out on Tuesday. Last season, he started 14 games with the Browns, where former 49ers DB coach Joe Woods served as the defensive coordinator. So if there’s a seamless transition, it’s Sendejo. He’s not going to get anyone excited, as Sendejo has been a victim of giving up the big play, but he’s another veteran who could hold the fort down. At the same time, the other safeties recover from injury.
During Niners camp, the three best safeties have been Jimmie Ward, Tavon Wilson, and Talanoa Hufanga, who has impressed. So long as that trio stays healthy, San Francisco is likely looking at a camp body to make it through August.