The San Francisco 49ers have put together back-to-back wins and look like they’re playoff-bound, but they could use some reinforcements.
After all, the Niners are two games removed from the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals, but only 1.5 games up on Washington and the Minnesota Vikings in terms of the wild card race. 8-6 is certainly not a bad spot based on some of the lows San Francisco has seen this season, but they’re not out of the woods either.
Plus, head coach Kyle Shanahan, general manager John Lynch and the rest of the organization know they’ve got game-breaking talent. Defensive end Nick Bosa and offensive weapon Deebo Samuel have shown that, but there’s room for improvement.
Enter Bashaud Breeland. The 29-year-old corner is now a free agent after a very public departure from the Vikings. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reported his release, as well as details on the situation.
Breeland was performing at a decent level with Minnesota before the altercation, clocking two picks and five passes defended in 13 starts, per Pro Football Reference. But does it make sense for Lynch and the 49ers to add the corner to their ranks?
ALL the latest 49ers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on 49ers newsletter here!
Breeland Vs. San Francisco 49ers Defense
Let’s start by hitting the key detail here: the 49ers can’t depend on getting Emmanuel Moseley back in time for the regular season. Per Michael Lombardi, Shanahan thinks the final game of the year would be the only game he’d be ready for in the regular season.
Corners Josh Norman and K’Waun Williams are the teams two other starting corners, although Williams is still a nickel-first CB. However, the two are allowing catch rates of 62 and 74 percent respectively, according to Pro Football Reference.
How does Breeland measure up? Well, he kind of splits the difference. PFR’s numbers say he allowed a 63.6 percent catch rate. Meanwhile, his 109.0 passer rating is higher than Norman’s 99.7 and Williams’ 89.4.
What Breeland has that neither Williams or Norman has is multiple interceptions. In fact, no corner on the San Francisco roster has more than one pick, while Breeland has nabbed two already this year.
It’s pretty clear that Breeland isn’t a top corner waiting to be signed, but the 49ers need to shore up the position, and he’s pretty much matched who they have. Two interceptions isn’t a eye-popping number, but it’s still better than what the Niners are seeing.
Timing and Price Working in 49ers Favor
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have brought in several guys who left their former teams on “bad terms,” the most notable example being star tackle Trent Williams. Breeland’s didn’t do his reputation any favors by getting in a physical altercation and getting cut by Minnesota, but the timing couldn’t have been worse for the Vikings.
In his last game in purple, Breeland picked off Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. Besides that, he registered a pass defended in three of his last four games. It’s clear something was up behind the scenes in Minnesota, but Breeland’s play hadn’t especially suffered.
Now, the cap space. It’s no doubt the 49ers are tight on paper, with Spotrac saying there’s only $1,586,611 available. But San Francisco doesn’t even have to worry about whittling Breeland down to a lesser contract, because he was already playing for cheap.
Spotrac says that the 29-year-old was making a $2.7 million cap hit, but his base salary was just the league minumum, $1.075 million. With the Niners being a playoff contender, Breeland would likely be willing to sign for a cheap deal, maybe the league minimum with another $200,000 in a signing bonus.