49ers Special Teams Ace Finds a New Home in the NFC North

Tarvarius Moore, San Francisco 49ers

Getty Tarvarius Moore attempting to tackle a Buffalo Bills player for the San Francisco 49ers.

As the San Francisco 49ers announce their first round of free agent signings, the team has also had to say goodbye to many of the faces fans became familiar with over the past few months or even seasons. One of those players is Tarvarius Moore, as the 26-year-old safety has agreed to a contract with the Green Bay Packers, according to Ari Meirov of The 33rd Team.

Initially drafted by the Niners in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft out of Southern Miss, fans had sky-high expectations for Moore to become an impact player coming out of college, but unfortunately, they never quite materialized; Moore played more snaps on special teams than defensive in all but one of his seasons with the 49ers and played just 41 snaps on defense in 2022 behind Talanoa Hufanga, Tashaun Gipson, and Jimmie Ward.

With Hufanga, Gipson, and George Odum all set to return in 2023 and Isaiah Oliver signed as a hybrid cornerback/special teamer, Moore probably wasn’t going to play much more in 2023 than 2022 if he returned, but now that has become the case in Green Bay, as the Packers had a need at safety and prioritized his services four days into the start of official start of the 2023 NFL calendar year.

Tavarius Moore has a Chance to Start for the Packers

After spending 2022 as the 49ers’ fourth, sometimes fifth option at safety, Moore finds himself joining a Packers team that, according to Sam Robinson of Pro Football Rumors, could undergo some serious changes on the defensive side of the ball, with one safety potentially switching to cornerback, a cornerback potentially shifting to safety, and two more safeties available to the entire league as free agents.

“Moore will land with another ex-Kyle Shanahan coworker, joining Matt LaFleur’s team,” Robinson wrote. “The Packers experienced some issues at safety last season, and Adrian Amos is now a free agent. The team is considering shifting Darnell Savage to the slot on a full-time basis, and Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes Rasul Douglas is a candidate to move from cornerback to safety. With the safety spot unsettled and Rudy Ford (six 2022 starts) also a free agent, the Packers may have an opening for Moore.”

With the Packers’ fate in 2023 very much up in the air, as they have a certain Hall of Fame-bound quarterback attempting to force his way to New York, it’s unclear what the team’s final record will look like when the 2023 season comes to a close. Still, signing a 26-year-old safety who ran a 4.32 40 at his collegiate pro day is rarely a bad call, especially if the cap hit is low enough.

The San Francisco 49ers Didn’t get The Player They Expected

When the 49ers drafted Moore in the third round back in 2018, the move was viewed as a good one by many, including by Mike Mayock, then of the NFL Network, with the long-time talent evaluator writing “To his credit, Tavarius Moore can run, he’s got those hips that can open up and play deep middle. You realize right away the dude can play,” in his write up on the selection.

Lance Zierlein too, also of NFL.com, liked what he saw from Moore, declaring him a player worthy of being drafted on Day 2 due to his athletic abilities in his draft profile.

“Possesses rare speed, length and explosiveness at the safety position, but his tape says he’s not just a workout wonder,” Zierlein wrote. “Moore is a premium athlete with smooth hips and fluid feet with the ability to handle man cover matchups that others could struggle with. While there is still work to do, he’s not a raw prospect and should be game-ready fairly quickly. Moore’s tape shows his ability to handle coverage and run support duties and his elite athletic traits will likely push him way up the draft board into Day 2.”

Ultimately, Moore didn’t become an early starter for the 49ers or Ward’s long-term partner at free safety, instead becoming more of a special teams ace in a role John Lynch ultimately signed Odum to fill. With Hufanga, Gipson, and Odum all back in red and gold, Moore has a better chance of living up to his draft pedigree in Green Bay than back in San Francisco for a sixth season.

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