How 49ers' strong secondary could shake out in free agency


The 49ers have a good core group in the secondary, but there will be opportunities to strengthen the position group in free agency. 

Jimmie Ward is the most notable 49ers name that will be testing out free agency. The versatile defensive back has played at every position in the secondary after playing at nickel for the club during the 2022 NFL season. 

The nine-year veteran has been loved by every coaching staff member that has walked through the doors in Santa Clara and will be sought after by many teams, even at age 31. 

Tashaun Gipson, who was brought in during training camp to play until Ward recovered from a hamstring injury, ended up playing well enough to continue in the starting safety position, even after Ward returned from a hand injury in Week 7. 

Gipson, who had contemplated retirement at the end of the season, has expressed interest in returning to play with the 49ers in 2023. While at the NFL Scouting Combine, general manager John Lynch shared that the 49ers would be interested in bringing Gipson back for another season to play alongside safety Talanoa Hufanga

Special teams standout George Odum also is an option to play safety for the club. The The 29-year-old is under contract with San Francisco through the 2024 season. 

The 49ers' other free agent defensive backs are Emmanuel Moseley, Jason Verrett and Tarvarius Moore. Moseley, who suffered an ACL injury in Week 5 of the 2022 season, is on schedule to return to action during the offseason -- and Lynch shared that the doors are open for him in Santa Clara. 

If the club is unable to bring Moseley back, Deommodore Lenoir likely would return to the field opposite Charvarius "Mooney" Ward, with Ambry Thomas and Sam Womack as options to play nickel. 

Here are a few more free agent defensive backs that could be reasonable options for the 49ers to consider:

CB Patrick Peterson 

Last team: Minnesota Vikings 
Age: 32
Experience: 12 years 
Last contract: Two years, $12M 
Notes: The All-Pro cornerback still has what it takes to play, racking up five interceptions over his 17 games in 2022. Peterson played 97.5 percent of the Vikings' defensive snaps last season and could be looking to play for a contender on a reasonable contract in 2023.  

CB Bryce Callahan  

Last team: Los Angeles Chargers 
Age: 31 
Experience: Eight years 
2022 salary: $1.27M 
Notes: Appeared in 15 games and recorded 47 tackles (34 solo) and three interceptions. 

CB Sean Murphy-Bunting 

Last team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Age: 25 
Experience: Four years 
2022 salary: $2.54M 
Notes: Appeared in 12 games and recorded 27 tackles (17 solo), two interceptions and forced one fumble. 

RELATED: How 49ers can bolster O-line with free agents, familiar faces

S DeShon Elliott 

Last team: Detroit Lions 
Age: 25
Experience: Four years
2022 salary: $1.1M 
Notes: Appeared in 14 games and recorded 96 tackles (73 total, five for loss), one interception, three pass breakups and forced one fumble. 

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