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49ers in Five: Is Jason Verrett still a good bet?

Are the Niners counting on Verrett?

Everything you need to know in about five minutes

The 49ers announced the signing of Jason Verrett to a one-year contract yesterday, and the deal mainly was applauded as a low-risk, high-reward move. While that may be true, it also doesn’t automatically make it a good bet.

There is no denying that in 2020, Jason Verrett had one of the best seasons a 49ers cornerback has ever had. Except for one game against Stefon Diggs, Verrett was close to untouchable most of the year. His end zone interception against the Rams is still one of the best plays I’ve seen a 49ers corner make in years.

Simply put, however, 2020 was the exception and not the rule. Verrett played just one game before injuries took away his season in three out of the last four years. Before that, it was largely more of the same.

Now, he’ll go into his ninth campaign in the league at age 31. It would be hard enough coming back from your first ACL tear at that age, let alone your second. This after also tearing an Achilles in 2018 and missing almost all of 2019 with an ankle problem. Given that injury history, those nine seasons should be measured in dog years.

I realize that some people still see this as a good move because the cost is so low, and it’s theoretically possible for the return to be sky-high. That is true, but it’s also true for a lot of bets you shouldn’t make. You can get 500 to 1 odds right now that Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick will be the MVP next season. That’s a low-risk, high-reward bet, for sure. Should you make it? Of course not. Despite this advice from Dunder Mifflin’s Kevin Malone, long odds don’t always equal a smart bet.

If the 49ers are going to put their chips behind a longshot, I would much rather see them bet on a young player becoming a star or a different veteran catching lightning in a bottle. Those might also be longshots, but they aren’t quite as long as betting on someone who has played in just 16 games over the last four years to stay healthy in 2022.

When he can play, Jason Verrett is a superstar. Unfortunately, history has shown us that he is quite literally almost never healthy. While I’m sure he has plenty of wisdom and experience that he can share with younger players, he can also do that as a coach without taking up a roster spot or salary cap space. Jason Verrett is a good person and clearly a hard worker, but I just don’t think he should be on the 49ers in 2022.