Report: 49ers Sign Tony Jefferson

He played the first four seasons of his career with the Cardinals, where his defensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016 was James Bettcher, the current senior defensive advisor for the 49ers.
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The 49ers just got Jaquiski Tartt insurance.

They signed veteran strong safety Tony Jefferson, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Jefferson will fill in for Tartt during the offseason, because Tartt is out until training camp with a turf toe injury he suffered last season.

To be clear: Jefferson is not here to compete with Tartt or take his job. He’s here to get the 49ers through offseason practices while Tartt rehabs.

Jefferson might not even make the team. He hasn’t played a game since he tore his ACL during Week 5 of 2019, and now he’s 29. So he’s yet another aging player with major injury issues on the 49ers roster.

But before Jefferson tore his ACL, he had missed just three games in six seasons. He played the first four seasons of his career with the Cardinals, where his defensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016 was James Bettcher, the current senior defensive advisor for the 49ers. So there’s a relationship between Jefferson and San Francisco’s coaching staff. 

In 2017, Jefferson signed with the Baltimore Ravens, where he started 35 games and earned more than $27 million. And he played well for the Ravens even though he never went to a Pro Bowl.

But Jefferson hasn’t played football in almost two years since tearing his ACL. It’s entirely possible he never will recover enough to regain the ability that made him a starting strong safety in the NFL.

Jefferson has the next three months to make an impression on the 49ers.