The 49ers have signed ex-Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett to a one-year $3.6 million contract.
The 49ers were in need of adding competition and experience to their secondary, and as a result went after the veteran corner who spent his first five years in the league with the Chargers.
Verrett (5-foot-10, 188 pounds) was the 25th overall selection in the 2014 draft and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015. He has only played in five games in the past three seasons as a result of several injuries.
He most recently tore his Achilles tendon in a conditioning test on the first day of the 2018 offseason program.
The team had high hopes for defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon after his breakout rookie season. The young cornerback did not fare as well in the beginning of his sophomore season playing opposite of veteran Richard Sherman. Verrett will raise the level of competition with the young group.
Verrett has experience, and prior to his injuries, was matched up against some of the top wide receivers in the league. Again, as with Kwon Alexander’s contract, the 49ers hedged their bets and gave Verrett a one-year ‘prove-it’ deal without much risk.
Even with the history of injuries, Verrett saw interest from other teams including the Texans and the Chiefs. He was reportedly going to visit both teams after his meeting with the 49ers, but those meetings never happened. Verrett explained why.
"The coaching here, the vibe here," Verrett said. "Just the way the coaching staff is. The locker room, the facilities. Everything from top to bottom is a class act organization."
I want to Thank My Guy Tom Telesco, n The Spanos family for Drafting me n giving me the opportunity to play this game. To my coaches, and teammates and The ENTIRE Chargers fans You guys stood behind me through it all and I’m Forever Grateful -Feeva 🤘🏾— Jason Verrett (@Jfeeva_2) March 15, 2019
The 49ers staff also assured Verrett that they brought him in to compete.
"The opportunity is there for me, wide open," Verrett said. "It's there for me to take it. It's just for me to get back healthy and get back out there on the football field and do what I know I can do. With all the things that I've been through, all you can ask for is the opportunity."
When Verrett has been healthy, he has been very productive. The 49ers and Verrett alike are hoping he can have a season like he did in 2015 when he was selected to the Pro Bowl. Dealing with all of the injuries hasn't been easy for the cornerback mentally.
"It's been tough," Verrett said. "It's a smile now, cry later kind of thing for me. There were a lot of dark moments with the injuries but I came out of the tunnel, and I'm ready to get things rolling.
"My body feels good. I'm on track with the way my Achilles is healing now. Meeting with the doctors here and the staff here to get on the same page and look forward for the season."
The 49ers have also signed defensive back Antone Exum Jr. to a one-year, $895,000 contract. He appeared in 15 games, and started seven in 2018 after injuries to Jaquiski Tartt, Adrian Colbert and Jimmie Ward. He also contributes on special teams.