Besides Trent Williams and the whole will-they-won’t-they with Jimmy Garoppolo, the greatest question for the 49ers this offseason has been what on earth they would do at corner. Basically the entirety of the secondary is expiring, with Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, K’Waun Williams Ahkello Witherspoon and Dontae Johnson all unrestricted free agents, as well as starting strong safety Jaquiski Tartt.
Emmanuel Moseley, the former undrafted free agent out of Tennesee, who won the starting job from Witherspoon, was a restricted free agent. That was true until Friday, when, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 49ers re-signed Moseley to a two-year deal worth up to $10.1 million.
49ers reached agreement with CB Emmanuel Moseley on a two-year deal worth up $10.1 million, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2021
It was expected that the 49ers would retain Moseley, given that, before the re-signing, their cornerback group consisted of Ken Webster, Tim Harris Jr., Adonis Alexander and Mark Fields II. Webster was supposed to start against the Miami Dolphins last year but couldn’t go and has limited game reps, Fields II was recently claimed off waivers from the Texans, Harris has spent most of his time injured and, along with Alexander, was signed to a reserve/future contract.
The question, now, is what Moseley’s 2021 cap hit is. We can safely expect that a fair amount of the money in that report is bonus money and that his cap hit next season won’t exceed a limit; that limit likely being the restricted free agent tender. The NFL just set those amounts on Thursday, which would explain the timing of this deal.
Below are the restricted free agent tender amounts; the first-round tender would mean a team would have to give a first-round pick in order to sign a restricted free agent away from a team which used that tender; the same would go for the second-round tender. The original-round tender wouldn’t come into play for an undrafted player like Moseley.
2021 Restricted Free Agent Tender Amounts
1st round: $4.766 million
2nd round: $3.384M
Original round: $2.183M
Right of first refusal only: $2.133M
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 12, 2021
We can then assume that the ceiling for Moseley’s first-year money is the second-round tender amount of $3.384 million. No team would likely pay a second-round pick for Moseley, and thus the 49ers probably wouldn’t exceed it. The cost of his first year is likely somewhere in the $2 million range, with incentives which could push it higher. It could also be structured as less than that, to provide him a much higher sum in 2022.
The numbers will come in soon, but the point is, Moseley is back, and now the 49ers have at least one corner they can rely on. Now, they juuuuust need to sign or draft a starting nickel, another starting corner, at least one more corner who can compete for a starting job and about three backups; oh, and add another safety to the mix.
For those concerned about retaining Jason Verrett; don’t be. This in no way prohibits the 49ers from retaining Verrett nor Trent Williams. The prospects of retain Kyle Juszczyk, K’Waun Williams and Jaquiski Tartt are, however, far murkier.
Unless San Francisco is willing to get superbly creative (involving Jimmie Ward and Arik Armstead restructures, a Laken Tomlinson extension, hopefully but not likely being able to cut Dee Ford, and/or restructuring Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract), while remaining active in the free agent center market, more than likely, they will only be able to retain one, or at most, two of the aforementioned group. It’s also very possible they could fail to re-sign any of those three.