Over the following weeks, here at Franchise Sports we will be covering the NFL free agency period, with previews of players hitting the market and reaction pieces to the biggest moves. In this piece, I examine Jason Verrett‘s impending free agency.
An All-Pro level cornerback, entering his age-28 season, on a short-term, team-friendly deal? “Sign me up” says every general manager in the history of the league.
Verrett is a guy who plays at an absolutely top level every time he steps out onto the field. Therein lies the problem, he has not managed to consistently stay on the field throughout his 5 years in the league; managing only one appearance since 2016, where he only managed 4 games as well. In 2017, he opted to have knee surgery to finally put his knee issues behind him; setting him up for a fully healthy 2018 season. Those hopes ended last July however, when he tore his Achilles tendon on the first day of training camp.
His injury history is clearly an issue, and an Achilles tear is a particularly tough injury to recover fully from, however there is no reason that this ultra-talented CB cannot secure a contract, likely only a short-term offer, by a team with a real need at the position.
The former first-round pick is rangy, equally adept in man or zone coverage. He is a little small to match up with the “X” receivers, at 5’10”, but his long arms can allow him to effectively play the ball in the air, thus limiting the impact of the height difference.
This seems like a classic New England signing, on a short “prove yourself” deal. As such, it opens the door to a move to Foxboro (assuming Jason McCourty does not re-sign), but also increases the possibility of a move to Miami or Detroit.
Flores and Patricia (the two head coaches) are both Bill Belichick disciples and could look to Verrett as a great player to pair with their entrenched starters (Darius Slay and Xavien Howard). He could also be a good “roll the dice” option for CB-needy teams like Arizona or Indianapolis. We know that his level of play is fantastic when healthy, and those teams have glaring holes at the position, so why not see if the TCU alum can provide them with the CB they require.
Personally, the best fit for Verrett is in Denver. Broncos GM John Elway is likely on quite thin ice in the Mile-High City and is in desperate need of a good season.
Denver have always prioritised the CB position, and their latest Super Bowl side was highlighted by the patented “No Fly Zone”. Well Chris Harris Jr is still in Denver, and performing at a supreme level, and Bradley Roby could return (more on that in a later piece). There are few options better than Verrett to play the role formerly filled by Aqib Talib, which would allow Roby to return to his favoured slot position. Elway could also offer him a multi-year deal, as if it works then Verrett will be a steal, and if not then Elway may not be around to deal with the issue.