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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Jaquiski Tartt open to 49ers return at the right price, praises Trey Lance

Sep 8, 2022 at 3:36 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers enter Week 1 against the Chicago Bears one Jimmie Ward shy of a full-strength defense. The veteran safety started the season on the injured reserve list, making his earliest possible return during Week 5.

The Philadelphia Eagles released safety Jaquiski Tartt on August 30, prompting fans to wonder if the longtime 49ers starter might return to the Bay Area. Tartt hasn't closed the door on that possibility, but he does have one condition before doing so.

He wants to be paid accordingly.

Tartt said as much during an interview on 95.7 The Game's Morning Roast show with Bonta & Shasky on Wednesday. He didn't exactly come off like someone who was looking to find a team as soon as possible in order to maximize his earnings, sounding instead like he's saved enough money during his seven NFL seasons to put himself on good financial footing. Tartt's financial desires at this point have to do more with coming up with a price he finds suitable enough to make it worth going through the physical punishment of another season.

"I talked to the coaches, but it's been nothing official," Tartt said. "As far as that situation, for the right price, of course I'll be back. But at the end of the day, if it's not for the right price, I'm definitely not going back. For me, as far as what makes sense, putting my body through a lot for a minimum is kind of like, you know, I've made enough money. I'm very fortunate to be able to play the game and be with the 49ers for seven years. Like I said, it's the right situation. If it's the right situation for me, I'd do it. If not, I'm good where I'm at."

Tartt joined the league in 2015 as a second-round pick of the 49ers out of Samford University, then signed a $13 million contract extension with the 49ers in 2018. He re-signed with the 49ers in 2021 on a one-year deal worth $1.13 million, then signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles worth up to $2.5 million in June before getting released in August. It sounds as if Tartt would at least like to make more than what the 49ers paid him in 2022, but he feels he's got more than enough gas left in his tank to make a difference if a team gives him what he wants.

"Oh yeah, no doubt," Tartt said. "At this point in my career, I think it's more about the business side of football. There's a lot of stuff out there about me not being able to perform at a high level, but it's the business side. When you reach the business side, it's all about opportunity. I assumed I would have an opportunity in Philadelphia, but from day one that wasn't what it was. So at the end of the day, I'm all about just chilling until the right situation occurs."

The 49ers chose to go in a different direction at safety in 2022, moving on to two younger players in Talanoa Hufanga and Tarvarius Moore to go with Ward and free agent addition George Odum. But there were no hard feelings from Tartt, who understood the direction the team went in after having him in their secondary for seven years.

"No, not really. Again, it's a business," Tartt said. "You've got a young club there... They've got guys they want to give an opportunity to, and I think they deserve it. I think they're good where they're at too as far as safeties. I think those guys will play out well for them."

Tartt also took a few minutes Thursday to discuss Trey Lance and what 49ers fans should expect from Lance this season. Tartt sounded confident in Lance's potential but stressed that fans need to be patient considering the fact Lance only has two starts under his belt to this point.

"From what I've seen, his mentality and mindset, he's very hungry," Tartt said. "He's eager to work and get better. And that's something you want to see in somebody as far as the media loving up and him being a high draft pick, and he's everything you want in a quarterback. I think he's going to get there and he's going to do what expected. But again, you definitely need patience. He hasn't been a full-time starter yet, and I think fans need to be more patient when it comes to that."

And as far as Lance not being named a captain, Tartt said it's not something that should be an issue of concern. There's been plenty of discussion about Lance not getting selected as one of the team's six captains, especially after the unexpected return of Jimmy Garoppolo to the quarterback room, but Tartt says the 49ers aren't limited to just six players when it comes to leadership.

"It's a bunch of leaders in that locker room," Tartt said. "You've got to name captains to the team (but) I think a lot of people on that team are definitely a leader."

David Bonilla contributed to this article.

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