This series will be a rundown of the top 20 players for the 49ers' 2020 season. Each player will be analyzed from his 2019 performance, to the cost of the player and what his future with the 49ers looks like.

Emmanuel Moseley was a Godsend for the San Francisco 49ers in 2019. When Ahkello Witherspoon went down in a Week 3 contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, 49ers fans had legitimate concern for how the defense would hold up. Up until that point, Witherspoon was playing at a very high level and seemed to be finally realizing the potential that caused him to be a 3rd-round selection in 2017.

While 49ers fans worried, 49ers players expressed a high level of confidence in Witherspoon's replacement, Emmanuel Moseley.

"It's his feistiness, it's his decision-making, it's his press, it's his confidence, it's his movement his ability to move, his lateral quickness, his straight-line speed...He's a guy that that can play this game at a high level" said CB Richard Sherman.

Moseley made sure to validate Sherman's claims, as he played a key role in the 49ers #1 ranked pass defense during the regular season. Witherspoon was inserted back into the lineup upon return from injury, but he never reached the level he was playing at prior to the Week 3 injury. In the final game of the season, the 49ers had a big decision to make on the final drive vs. Seattle. Witherspoon had struggled all game with Seattle's WR corps, and the 49ers couldn't let this win get away. The 49ers coaches replaced Witherspoon with Moseley on the final drive, and while "Clinch By an Inch" is the play everyone will remember, Emmanuel Moseley also had a memorable PD on the goal line where WR DK Metcalf beat him off the jump. Moseley rewarded the 49ers coaches' decision by making an incredible recovery and knocking away a touchdown.

The 49ers gave Witherspoon one last chance to hold off Moseley from the starting job, but after giving up an early TD in the Divisional Round vs. Minnesota, Moseley took over as the starting CB spot opposite Richard Sherman and helped lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

2019 Performance


By traditional metrics Moseley started 9 regular season games and registered 1 interception, 8 passes defended and 42 tackles. QBs throwing at Moseley were 32-59 completing 54.2% of passes for 392 yards with QB rating of 79.2. In the post-season Moseley registered 1 interception and 4 passes defended through 3 games. A more detailed analysis from PFF had him rated at 70.0 for the regular season. For a better understanding to this number, here are some players who PFF rated similarly to Emmanuel Moseley in 2019: Rams CB Jalen Ramsey (71.5), Steelers CB Joe Haden (70.3) and Browns CB Denzel Ward (69.9). All three of those players were first-round picks, while Moseley was an undrafted free agent.

2020 Cost


Moseley in an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA). What does this mean? Well, in short, good news for the 49ers, bad news for Moseley. As an ERFA the 49ers have exclusive rights to negotiate with Moseley. All the 49ers would have to do is offer Moseley a one-year contract, non-guaranteed at the minimum salary for his position and he would be obligated to sign the contract or sit out a year to hit the market in 2021. Quite simply, there is not much free about an ERFA. The exact number of Moseely's 2021 contract should be in the range of $450,000-$500,000. A bargain for someone who had played at the same level as Jalen Ramsey, Joe Haden and Denzel Ward in 2019.

Future Outlook


The 49ers have to love what they saw from Moseley in 2019. He has all the tools to succeed as a starting CB, is yet to be 24, has big game experience and comes with a bargain bin price-tag. It is hard to imagine a scenario where the cap-strapped 49ers don't have Moseley, costing them $500k, starting opposite of Richard Sherman in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This season should be an audition for Moseley. If he performs at the same level, or above the level, that he played at in 2019, the 49ers would be wise to sign him to a long-term contract solidifying him as a cornerstone of their secondary. Moseley is a young player with a high ceiling that the 49ers can build around. All the pieces are there, it's just up to him to put the puzzle together and cement himself as a 49er for years to come.



Next: No. 18 Laken Tomlinson