One of the Super Bowl representatives could be facing changes in the secondary after the game — and already has been linked to a free agent on the San Francisco 49ers.
The Philadelphia Eagles “should pursue” 26-year-old cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, who’s in the final weeks of his two-year, $9 million contract, according to Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus.
“If the Eagles don’t bring cornerback James Bradberry back in 2023, they could go younger at the position here, with Darius Slay also entering his age-32 season in 2023, the last year of his current contract,” Spielberger wrote in a January 18 story. “Philadelphia’s defense could look very different next season with a ton of key contributors set to hit free agency.”
Moseley missed all but five games in 2022 to a torn ACL, but when he was on the field, he had an interception and was on pace to collect a career high in tackles.
“Moseley had a strong start to the 2022 season, picking up where he left off down the stretch in 2021, before going down with a season-ending injury late in Week 5,” Spielberger wrote. “Since Week 9 of 2021, Moseley’s 76.0 coverage grade ranks tied for 20th among cornerbacks with at least 200 snaps, and his 16.7% forced incompletion rate is tied for 18th while his 1.4% rate of explosive receptions allowed on targets into his coverage ranks ninth.”
Can the San Francisco 49ers Still Bring Back ‘E-Man?’
Signing Moseley might not be an easy task for Philly (or any team, for that matter) because 49ers general manager John Lynch has already stated his desire to bring him back.
“He’s a guy we’d have interest in bringing back because of the way he plays, but also what he stands for. He’s one of us and we’d sure like to have him back,” Lynch told reporters on February 1.
And back in October 2022, after Moseley went down with injury, head coach Kyle Shanahan let it be known he’d love to have Moseley back for 2023.
“It’s a real sad, unfortunate thing that happened to him,” Shanahan said, according to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco. “He was playing his a** off, too. He will be very missed this year. And I really, really hope to have him back next year.”
The San Francisco 49ers Would Need to Address CB Room Regardless
Moseley, 26, may not command high attention in free agency given the higher-profile cornerbacks who will be looking for new contracts. Along with Bradberry, other CBs who are entering free agency include perennial Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson, three-time Pro Bowler and 2018 season NFC champ Marcus Peters and 2020 Super Bowl winner Jamel Dean. FanDuel has Bradberry as the top free agent corner available while Moseley lands at No. 7.
But it’s not so much where he ranks in free agency that could persuade teams to shy away. Moseley hasn’t played a full season since 2020, including missing late action in 2021 due to a high ankle sprain.
What could convince the 49ers, if they should go a different direction from Moseley, is the sudden emergence of Deommodore Lenoir, who established himself as both the No. 2 CB and the top interception king during the playoffs for S.F. The team also still has Ambry Thomas from Lenoir’s 2021 draft class expected to be healthier. But again, depth is a priority here.
Jason Verrett is another unrestricted free agent and, after back-to-back ACL tears, may not return. While Samuel Womack is another CB option, the potential departure of Jimmie Ward could convince the Niners to plant Womack at his nickelback/slot CB role. Luring back Moseley, and preventing him from joining the NFC champs, would mean less money but needed depth returning.