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Gold Diggers: Should the 49ers let Jaquiski Tartt walk?

It might be time to say goodbye

Outside of where to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers have plenty of decisions to make this offseason. One of those decisions is whether to bring back safety Jaquiski Tartt, who will become a free agent when the new league year begins on Wednesday. In today’s Gold Digger’s podcast, Michelle Magdziuk made the argument that the answer is pretty cut and dry.

“It’s time for him to go somewhere else. Tartt had the fewest interceptions and pass break-ups combined among all defensive backs in the NFL with least ten starts last year. All of them. Do you know how many he had combined? One. He had one pass break-up and zero interceptions.

I thought maybe this was just a bad year for him, but go back every single year. He had two pass break-ups in 2020, one interception. He did it again in 2019 - one pass break-up, zero interceptions. 2018, one pass break-up, one interception. I can keep going down the whole list. He’s never had more than two pass break-ups in a season in his career.

He also had a 15.4 missed tackle rate. That was 14th worst among 66 safeties that played 600 snaps last year. He’s not making a difference for your defense. You need difference makers. You need guys that are changing the game, or at least, sometimes. Can you do it once a year? You need someone that has more potential. Even if they allowed a couple of bigger plays, you need someone that can make at least one splash play a year.”

Not to pile on, but he also didn’t cause or recover any fumbles this year, either.

Initially, I pushed back because I believe there are a lot of plays that Tartt makes that don’t necessarily show up in a box score. Like this one.

After hearing her argument, however, I began to wonder if my heart was overruling my head. Pro Football Focus gave Ward a 57.5 grade this past season. While I readily admit that PFF shouldn’t be taken as gospel, I also don’t think their grades are so completely off the mark that the data should be dismissed out of hand.

Ward also allowed just .26 pass yards per snap in 583 snaps last year to his credit. That shouldn’t be ignored, either. Still, at 30 years old and seven seasons into his career, we know who Jaquiski Tartt is at this point. The 49ers themselves did not seem to be sold on him this year.

Talanoa Hufanga ate into Tartt’s snap count throughout the season - that wasn’t by accident. Even as far back as training camp, 49ers coaches were talking about the play of potential replacements like Tavon Wilson.

What do you think? Should the 49ers spend more on Tartt than the roughly $1.1 million they spent on him this year or is it time for them to move on to a safety that can generate more big plays for the defense?