The 49ers need answers at the cornerback position. With the inexperience in the secondary and loss of Dontae Johnson, the team needs improvement.
Enter Trumaine Johnson. He’s going to be looking for a new home after Los Angeles finalized their trade for Marcus Peters.
He’s arguably the best outside cornerback going into the free agency market, and it shows with his play. With his availability, the 49ers need to sign him immediately, and here’s why.
He fits the cornerback mold for the defensive scheme
The 49ers cornerbacks are meant to be tall, athletic players with long wingspans. Johnson’s 6’2″ frame provides this, and with his added showcase as a number one corner, he will pair well with Ahkello Witherspoon. Add the team’s nickel corner, K’Waun Williams, and the team has a dangerous cornerback unit.
It’s a significant improvement over Dontae Johnson
To say that Dontae Johnson underwhelmed as the team’s number two corner is an understatement. According to Pro Football Focus, he is one of the worst cornerbacks in the league with a lowly 36.9 rating (118th overall amongst his position).
The NC State product gave up 56 catches on 86 targets for 781 yards. He intercepted one pass but allowed five touchdowns and a passer rating of 108.7.
Trumaine Johnson more than outplayed the former 49er. His 74.2 rating doubles what Dontae has. The University of Montana product allowed just 51 catches on 89 targets for 759 yards and gave up one touchdown. He also pulled in two interceptions, with one of them going for a score.
The 49ers have the money
San Francisco currently is fourth in the league in total cap space. Johnson has been asking for a big contract since 2016 after his first big season with the Rams. Los Angeles didn’t reward him with this and instead tagged him two years in a row.
Much like a certain Redskins quarterback, something like this will make a player feel disrespected. It’s time for the 28-year-old to get paid.
Not to mention, signing with a division rival is a good way at revenge.
How would he fit?
He would likely be slotted as the team’s number one cornerback. The team would move Witherspoon opposite of Johnson and with Williams still at the nickel spot.
It’s still unsure of what will happen with the safety positions regarding the talent at the position. With Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, and Adrian Colbert all in the talk, it would be interesting to see what the coaches come up with.