Getting better is always the goal. But when the San Francisco 49ers can flip a star player on a rival team like the Seattle Seahawks, that helps even more.
The 49ers are looking to build on their second NFC Championship appearance in three seasons, with a roster of talent that should only need a few tweaks or upgrades across the board.
One of those areas is in the secondary. Besides a mish-mash of starting corner combinations this year, the team is also having to consider whether or not they want to bring back strong safety Jaquiski Tartt.
If they decide against bringing Tartt back, one high-level replacement worth considering is Seahawks star defensive back Quandre Diggs. According to Spotrac, Diggs is set to become a free agent, and the 49ers can throw down the cash to compete with Seattle over his signature.
It won’t be easy or cheap, especially considering Diggs has already made it known he’d be happy to return, with the big “if” surrounding the money.
“No question [I want to be back],” Diggs said after the season per the Seahawks website. “If we can make it work and it works out for both sides, and I feel fairly compensated knowing that I’m a two-time Pro-Bowler, [received] All-Pro votes, and one of the best, if not the best free safety in the NFL—I have to be compensated as well, and I feel like I did everything the right way to be compensated as well. If it works out and they say they want to do it, let’s get it done.”
So, it’d have to be a “steal” to get Diggs from Seattle, but money is clearly a factor and that opens the door for teams like the 49ers to compete.
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49ers Will Have to Pay Up
So, how much will the Niners have to put on the table? Well, consider it over $10 million a year at least, considering that Over the Cap values his 2021 performance at $10.5 million and he was paid just $3,625,000 instead.
Diggs snagged 13 interceptions in 38 games after switching to free safety after joining the Seahawks. But if he were to play for the 49ers, he’d most definitely switch back to strong safety, the position he started at before the Detroit Lions traded him to Seattle in 2019.
His ball skills are tremendous, there’s no doubt about that. Besides the 13 interceptions, he also added 20 passes defended in that span. However, would that translate to the strong safety position instead?
His Detroit numbers say yes, as he still brought down six interceptions as a Lion. The cherry on top for Diggs is that he’s also started several games at corner for Detroit and came out of Texas as a corner, meaning that he can, potentially, be an option at almost anywhere in the secondary.
Sure, Diggs would probably require somewhere close to $10-14 million on a deal, but San Francisco would get more “bang for their buck” with a player who can play in Tartt’s role or start at corner if necessary. Even in a scenario where 49ers free safety Jimmie Ward, they’d be covered thanks to Diggs’ familiarity.
The only hang-up San Francisco may have with Diggs is that he broke his leg in the Seahawks’ regular-season finale. While that kind of injury is never ideal, it could be far worse.
In his final season comments, the former Texas Longhorn recognized that and stressed that this isn’t his first time recovering from injury.
“I’ve been through injuries before, I’ve been through offseason rehabs before, so for me it’s just another obstacle that I’ll push through and get through and come back better,” Diggs said. “I’ve got a broken bone; it’s not like I tore an ACL or Achilles or anything. I’ve got a broken leg, and with my ankle it’s just the same as if I would have had ankle surgery—guys get ankle surgery every offseason. It’s just one of those things, a four to five-month recovery where, by the time training camp rolls around, I’ll be 100 percent ready to go.”
That should be music to the ears of any team interested in Diggs.