The 49ers were pleasantly surprised by their secondary in 2019. Boasting the #1 pass defense in the league and allowing the lowest number of passing yards per game in over 10 years. An offseason question mark transformed into a regular season strength. Much of this can be attributed to an improved pass rush, and as good as they were, the 49ers were even better when their 2 best safeties were on the field.

In the past few years it was a rare to see SS Jaquiski Tartt and FS Jimmie Ward on the field at the same time. Hell, it was even rare to see one of them on the field. Injuries followed these players like a lost dog looking for lunch. In 2019 both safeties were able to stay relatively healthy, and what a difference it made. First on our list we'll look at the less talented of the two, Jaquiski Tartt. While Jimmie Ward was clearly the better of the safeties, when Tartt went down during the late stretch of the 2019 season the 49ers defense struggled to keep teams from scoring. In the 11 regular season games that Tartt completed, the 49ers allowed only 14.8 ppg. With Tartt out of the lineup, he 49ers let up 147 points in 5 games, which comes out to 29.4 ppg. That number doubled the ppg allowed when he was on the field.

While the competition surged with Tartt on the bench, the 49ers did face better QBs during that five game stretch (Lamar Jackson, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Jared Goff & Russel Wilson). A solid presence in the back end of the secondary is much needed and Tartt provides just that. Plain and simple, the 49ers were much better with Tartt on the field than they were when his replacement Marcel Harris filled in.

2019 Performance


Tartt does not shine on paper. His stats for 2019 show a player who didn't make many impact plays, but as one can see the overall team stats show where Tartt impacted the defense. On the season, Tartt recorded 34 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1 forced fumble, 0 interceptions and 2 passes defended. According to Pro Football Focus Tartt graded out at 66.4 for the regular season. Players graded similarly were Washington SS Landon Collins (66.4), New Orleans SS Vonn Bells (64.6) and Pittsburgh SS Terrell Edmunds (63.6).

2020 Cost


Tartt is in the final year of his contract that comes with a cap hit of $6.275 million. While this number is high, the 49ers have seen what life is like when he is not on the field. If the 49ers wanted to cut ties with Tartt prior to 6/1/20, they would save $4.7 million against the cap.

Future Outlook


The 49ers have to take a hard look at Tartt right now and decide whether he is a part of their future or not. With only one year left on his deal, the 49ers could either cut or trade Tartt and save $4.7 million. If the 49ers see him as a long-term sollution at SS then they have to go into this year knowing that they will either have to pay him in 2021 or lose him to free agency. Here we see another 49er reaching the end of his deal, who could be cut a year early to save the team a substantial amount of money (#14 on our list Kyle Juszczyk also could be cut before 6/1/20 and would save the team $5.4 million). I believe Tartt will return in 2020, but don't be surprised if the 49ers peruse the trade market for teams looking for a strong safety.



Next: No. 12 Arik Armstead
  • Written by:
    36 year old husband & father of 4, life-long 49ers fan living in Hudson Valley New York.