49ers re-signing Jason Verrett and Donate Johnson to bolster cornerback depth

49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers have reportedly re-signed veterans Jason Verrett and Dontae Johnson as they look to bolster their cornerback depth.

The San Francisco 49ers reportedly made a couple of depth signings on Monday with the announcement that both Jason Verrett and Dontae Johnson had been re-signed to one-year contracts.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, both Verrett and Johnson will return to the team as they look to add to their thin cornerback group. But that position just got deeper with the return of two serviceable veterans.

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Verrett joined the team last offseason with a considerable amount of promise surrounding him. After all, the former Chargers standout was a Pro Bowler back in 2015 and was at one point considered one of the best young cornerbacks in football.

But just like it has been throughout his entire career, injuries were the story of his 2019 season.

Verrett played in just one game with the 49ers last season, a Week 3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. After being inactive in the first two weeks, Verrett was given his first opportunity to play in Week 3 only to be burnt on a couple of plays deep.

He was placed on the injured reserve soon after ending his season.

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Out of 96 possible games that Verrett could have played in since he came into the league in 2014, the TCU product has only played in a stunning 26 games. In fact, he’s played in more than six games just once in his six NFL seasons.

The talent is (or was) there, but the injuries — including a partially torn ACL and a fully torn Achilles tendon — have derailed his career. The 49ers see potential, but in no way will he be guaranteed a roster spot in 2020.

And in all honesty, it will be a miracle if he plays more than a handful of games with the team.

Meanwhile, the 49ers decided to re-sign Johnson for what feels like the millionth time. The 2014 fourth-round pick has bounced around the league after playing the first four seasons of his career in San Francisco.

Johnson started all 16 games in 2017, but has done very little of note since. After Verrett was injured last season, the 49ers brought him back and he went on to play in seven games seeing just 20 defensive snaps.

At this point, he’s just reliable depth who knows the system and could contribute on special teams. Depending on what players the team adds in the 2020 NFL Draft, Johnson may be facing an uphill battle when it comes to earning a roster spot in 2020.

The 49ers currently have four cornerbacks essentially guaranteed roster spots — Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, K’Waun Williams, and Emmanuel Moseley. The remaining slots are up for grabs and it remains to be seen how the position will look following the draft.

Verrett and Johnson simply add more depth and competition in the form of proven veterans who know the system.

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However, don’t hold out hope that either actually plays a regular-season game in 2020.