It looks like Marcus Epps will have competition at the strong safety spot once Philadelphia Eagles training camp opens on July 26. The team signed veteran defensive back Jaquiski Tartt to a one-year deal on Friday.
He’ll earn $1.127 million for the 2022 season, per Spotrac. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound safety will wear a different jersey for the first time in his professional life after spending his first seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Tartt has 367 career tackles (21 for loss) and four interceptions, plus 18 pass breakups, four sacks, and two forced fumbles. He has started 64 out of a possible 84 games since 2015.
The 49ers selected him in the second round (46th overall) of the 2015 NFL draft. Prior to that, Tartt was a three-year starter at Samford where he was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award which is given to the top defensive player in college football. He also earned All-American and All-Southern Conference honors three times. Here is a scouting report on Tartt, via NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein:
Tartt has terrific size and is a physical tackler but he must show that he can handle coverage responsibilities. Despite playing 2-deep and single-high coverage, Tartt’s size and aggressiveness as a tackler might be best utilized around the line of scrimmage or in a “robber” scheme. Tartt has the size, athleticism and overall talent to be an NFL starter.
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‘No Excuses’ for Dropped Interception
Tartt’s best year came in 2017 when Pro Football Focus handed him an 85.7 grade through nine weeks before a broken forearm ended his season. He was a member of the 49ers’ Super Bowl team in 2020, but they came up short in a 31-20 loss to Kansas City.
The Alabama native made headlines in 2021 for being a “scapegoat” after he dropped what would have been a game-changing interception in the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers were leading 17-14 with 9:47 left in the fourth quarter when the ball bounced in and out of his outstretched hands. Tartt dropped a slam-dunk turnover, which he made no excuses for botching after the game. The Los Angeles Rams won the contest 20-17.
“No excuses!! I deserve all the criticism my way,” Tartt wrote on Twitter. “Opportunity I dream of I came up short!!! Let my brothers down!! It Still won’t define me as a person/player. Only will get stronger and better.”
Tartt Sends Thoughtful Farewell Message to 49ers
Tartt wasted no time trying to get in the good graces of Eagles fans by taking to Twitter to write: “Fly, Eagles, Fly!!” The 30-year-old safety also sent a heartfelt farewell message to the 49ers’ organization for “all the love and memories” during his seven seasons in a San Francisco uniform.
He enters an Eagles secondary looking to find a replacement for Rodney McLeod to pair next to starter Anthony Harris. Tartt immediately heads to the top of the depth chart there. But Philadelphia has other veteran bodies to compete for the spot, including Marcus Epps, K’Von Wallace, Jared Mayden, Andre Chachere.
“We probably have a higher vision of that room than maybe is perceived,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said on April 30.