Close to assembling an ex-49ers-only cafeteria table to start DeMeco Ryans‘ tenure, the Texans now have another defender who spent multiple seasons in San Francisco in the fold.
After working out Jason Verrett last week, the Texans signed the veteran cornerback to their practice squad. Verrett’s addition comes a day after Houston added ex-San Francisco defensive end Kerry Hyder
on a P-squad deal. The Texans also have Jimmie Ward and Hassan Ridgeway, though the latter is currently on IR.
Coaches frequently bring in players familiar with their system, and Verrett has extensive knowledge of Ryans’ scheme. Texans defensive pass-game coordinator Cory Undlin was also with the 49ers during Verrett’s tenure. Though, the former first-round cornerback has a strong claim to be labeled the NFL’s most injury-prone player. Verrett, 32, is a former Pro Bowler but a player who has mostly seen maladies define his career. The 5-foot-10 corner spent the past four seasons with the 49ers, showing plus form when he was available, which was rarely the case.
During his eight-year career, Verrett has suffered two ACL tears and two Achilles tears. The former Chargers first-rounder has played more than six games in a season just twice — in 2015 and 2020. Those seasons produced a Pro Bowl (2015) and a top-15 Pro Football Focus ranking (2020). But injury absences have overshadowed those talent glimpses. Verrett ended last season with a 40-to-106 games-played to games-missed ratio.
Ryans was in San Francisco throughout Verrett’s stay, being in place as the team’s inside linebackers coach during Verrett’s 2020 run of mostly good health. Verrett’s game counts from 2017-22 are as follows: one, zero, one, 13, one, zero. In that 13-game sample in 2020, Verrett notched seven passes defensed and intercepted two passes. He held QBs to a collective 76.2 passer rating as the closest defender. This earned him a more lucrative contract in 2021 (one year, $5.5MM). The TCU alum suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2021 season, and after the 49ers re-signed him on a veteran-minimum deal, Verrett endured his second Achilles tear just before he was to make his 2022 debut.
The Verrett signing comes after Shaquill Griffin missed the Texans’ Week 5 game with a calf strain. Slot corner Tavierre Thomas has also missed the past three games, while top outside cover man Derek Stingley is on IR. Houston also worked out Anthony Averett, but the Lions added him to their practice squad Tuesday.