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49ers 90-in-90: 2022 is a make or break season for CB Emmanuel Moseley

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today is CB Emmanuel Moseley

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The 49ers went into 2021 with Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley as their starting cornerbacks. However, Verrett didn’t make it out of the first game, which meant Moseley would take over the CB1 responsibilities.

Moseley battled injuries that kept him out of a handful of games. Those injuries, plus facing the opponent’s top receiver, led to inconsistencies for Moseley. Moseley battled DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett at his peak in Week 4, holding them to 49 yards on eight targets with two pass breakups and a tackle for loss.

Moseley’s competitiveness shouldn’t go unnoticed. It’s the reason he only allowed a 47% completion percentage and had a career-high in pass breakups per Sports Info Solutions, despite having the fewest targets in three seasons.

Something was off, though. And that could be as simple as Moseley not being ready for the CB1 role. He only allowed 18 receptions, but too many were first downs or big plays. This season should serve Moseley well as he returns to the CB2 role.

Basic Info

Age: 26

Experience: 4 accrued seasons

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 184 lbs.

Cap Status

Moseley is an unrestricted free agent after this season. His cap number for 2022 is $6.55 million. Depending on how this year goes, Moseley could return to the Niners on a team-friendly deal or put them in a rock and a hard place after having a career year.

Now that San Francisco has a quarterback on a rookie contract, they can afford to keep players like Moseley and pay them. So, everyone is rooting for Moseley to play his best ball this season.

How he can improve in 2022

Moseley didn’t allow a touchdown in 2021, which is tough to do at any level, especially the highest level. Moseley’s physicality and tackling has always been above average, but he soared to new heights last year, which allowed DeMeco Ryans to play as much “cloud” coverage with the cornerbacks — where they’re responsible for underneath coverage.

Moseley’s next step in coverage is turning those pass breakups into interceptions. He dropped two last year and picked off Matthew Stafford in the season's final game. For his career, Moseley has one interception in each year. If he wants to shake that CB2 tag, he'll need to generate turnovers.

Will Moseley be a Niner next season?

Charvarius Ward, Samuel Womack, Ambry Thomas, Tariq Castro-Fields, and Deommodore Lenoir give the 49ers a young staple of cornerbacks. As a result, the pressure is on Moseley to perform this season.

Next offseason, the 49ers could look to go the veteran route if Moseley has a down year. Marcus Peters, Bradley Roby, James Bradberry, Kyle Fuller, and Jonathan Jones are all free agent cornerbacks.

San Francisco developed Moseley from an undrafted free agent to a competent starter. Letting Moseley walk and receiving a comp pick next year is an option. But I’d imagine the team wants to reward a homegrown player such as Moseley.

I think he continues to play at a CB2 level, receiving a lucrative contract, and remains a 49er for the next four years after another solid season in the Bay.