49ers Ax Ex-Jets Safety Days Before NFC Championship Game

Jarrod Wilson, Sharrod Neasman

Getty Former New York Jets safeties Jarrod Wilson (#39) and Sharrod Neasman (#35) celebrate a victory on October 3, 2021.

The San Francisco 49ers coaching staff has become one that is heavily tied to the New York Jets since the hire of Robert Saleh and Mike LaFleur.

It makes perfect sense, being that the two franchises run the same system more or less on both offense and defense. Based on that fact, you’ll start to see a bunch of players make the journey from San Fran to New York and vice versa.

Recently, this happened with 2021 Jets safety Jarrod Wilson, after he was waived by Joe Douglas on December 7. He logged four regular-season games with the Niners and one postseason appearance before a recent ill-fated cut ahead of the NFC championship game.

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Ex-Jets Teammates Will Not Do Battle

Former NYJ pairing Sharrod Neasman was also picked up by the Los Angeles Rams — although he has not factored in yet. The two started alongside one another briefly after early-season injuries to Ashtyn Davis, Lamarcus Joyner and Marcus Maye and their most notable Jets effort came against the Tennessee Titans.

Up until January 25, it appeared the journeymen might be destined to meet again in the NFC championship. Then 49ers Twitter announced: “The 49ers have waived S Jarrod Wilson.”

After a deactivation in the divisional round, the writing was on the wall for Wilson, who has bounced around a few organizations since entering the league. Perhaps San Francisco will keep him around on the practice squad, assuming he clears waivers.

The safety accumulated 13 tackles, three QB hits and one sack during his time with the Jets. With the Niners, he saw the majority of his work come on special teams, but he only totaled three tackles in four appearances.

Here was his loudest play with Gang Green — a punishing sack on Josh Allen.

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Late Finds Set up Interesting Offseason at Safety

With day-one starters Maye and Joyner set to hit free agency in 2022, the obvious thought is that the Jets need one or two safeties, right? The big names floating around Jets Twitter are Marcus Williams, Jessie Bates III, Jaquiski Tartt and draft prospect Kyle Hamilton among others.

However, after a few late-season finds, that need has become much less of a certainty. Here were Saleh’s safeties by the end of a wild first year on the job at the position.

Jason Pinnock

The 2021 fifth-rounder looked like a total bust at cornerback but he finished his rookie season on a high note. After switching over to safety for his final three games, Pinnock earned Pro Football Focus grades of 80.1, 68.5 and 73.2. He showed particular promise as a tackler and run defender during the short span but as a former CB, his coverage ability was an upgrade on those that came before him.

Ashtyn Davis

The man drafted to take over for Jamal Adams has not looked the part in his first two NFL seasons. Davis is athletically gifted with a propensity for the hard-hit but he’s been exposed in coverage often throughout his early days. He’s also known to take some horrible angles on ball carriers. After an up-and-down campaign, Davis finished with a 60.7 on PFF.

Elijah Riley

The Army UDFA has been a fantastic waiver find for Douglas and Saleh but it’s unclear if his ceiling is a starter, or just a really solid backup. I’d lean towards the latter after a few rocky outings down the stretch. Riley is an exclusive-rights free agent in 2022.

Will Parks

Like Joyner and Maye, Parks is an unrestricted free agent in March. The veteran latched on with the Green & White late in the year, replacing the role filled by players like Wilson and Neasman — only he did a much better job at it. We saw a potential scheme fit here so we’ll see if Douglas attempts to bring Parks back on the cheap this offseason.

Kai Nacua

Nacua is another ex-49er that made the jump to the east coast. Although he only appeared in three games for the Jets, he quickly made an impact on special teams. If Brant Boyer wants him back, you could see the former BYU UDFA return in a reserve/ST capacity. He is a restricted free agent heading into March.

Maye & Joyner

It feels like Maye’s departure is almost a foregone conclusion after the contract extension fiasco but I could see the Jets doubling down on their Joyner prove-it deal. Saleh and DC Jeff Ulbrich were excited about the former Rams and Raiders DB and considering how low the cost will probably be after a season on the injured reserve, a Joyner return might make some sense.

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