Though he wasn’t on the field for the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC Championship game, one player reporters did ask about during their joint exit interview with John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan was Emmanuel Mosley, the 26-year-old cornerback who began the year at CB2 before suffering a torn ACL against the Carolina Panthers in Week 5.
After watching Deommodore Lenoir play well for the team down the stretch, did Mosley still have a place in the team’s future? Or would he instead have to seakemployment elsewhere when his contract expired in March? Fortunately, Lynch provided an answer to that very question, and it should sound like music to “E-Man’s” ears.
“E-Man is doing really well. He’s out on the field as we speak, working out here and rehabbing, doing really well,” Lynch said via Ninerswire. “Most of the time, unless somebody’s hit a complication you typically hear doing really well, a little bit ahead of schedule because these guys are elite athletes and if you know Mose at all, his commitment to the process is going to be elite. And that’s what he’s done. He was down in L.A., rehabbing for a long time, we’ve had him back for the last couple weeks. He’s a free agent. 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.”
“He’s one of us” is about as glowing of an endorsement as one could hope for so. While interest alone won’t define whether or not Mosley ends up back in San Francisco next fall, it’s safe to say the 49ers would like to see it happen, as they’ve been towing the same line for months.
Kyle Shanahan Was Similarly Complimentary Back in October
49ers fans shouldn’t be too surprised that the team would have interest in bringing back Mosley in 2023, as Shanahan effectively made the same comments back in October when “E-Man” initially went down with an injury after the Panthers game.
“It’s a real sad, unfortunate thing that happened to him,” Shanahan said via NBC Sports Bay Area. “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.”
Before he went down with an ACL injury, Mosley and Charvarius Ward formed a dominant one-two-cornerback punch on the outside that allowed more than 200 passing yards just twice over the first five games of the season. If he can return to full strength in time for Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season, the 49ers could be in very good shape moving forward, as Mosley was the team’s second-best cornerback in 2022.
Mosley Was the 49ers’ Second-Best CB in 2022
Though the sample size was rather small, as the fifth-year pro only played 311 defensive snaps before going down with an injury, Mosley finished out the season with a defensive grade of 70.9 according to Pro Football Focus, good for the second-highest mark on the team behind only Ward.
Lenoir’s play, by contrast, was graded far harsher by PFF, as he finished out the year with a defensive grade of 61.0, good for the 73rd mark among 118 qualifying cornerbacks. Even if the 49ers keep Lenoir around heading into 2023, which considering he’s under contract at under $1 million per season, would be a no-brainer, don’t be surprised if Mosley returns as well to give San Francisco a right-proper cornerback competition opposite Ward