KANSAS CITY, MO – SEPTEMBER 11: Cornerback Jason Verrett #22 of the San Diego Chargers runs with the ball after an interception during the second half of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter G Aiken/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Chargers got an exciting first-round pick in 2014 for their secondary when they selected Jason Verrett. As a cornerback, he was undersized but didn’t play like it. Even at 5’10, he was generally able to keep up with receivers who were typically taller than him. He had a certain ferocity to his playing style. However, he’s struggled a lot with injuries over the course of his career. He’s a free agent this offseason, but the Chargers probably shouldn’t re-sign him.

A Promising Start  

Verrett had some injury issues from the very start of his career. He only played six games in his rookie season. However, he showed some promise during that time, highlighted by pulling down a game-winning interception against Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders 

2015 was really the only year that Verrett ever played even close to a full season (14 games). However, it was a good year and probably part of the reason why the Chargers have held onto him; because at least for that year, he lived up to his first-round billing. He had three interceptions including a pick-six and 47 tackles, and ultimately made his only Pro Bowl appearance as a result.  

The Injury Bug 

2016 was the year things began to take a turn for the worse for Verrett, health-wise. He played only four games before having surgery for a partially torn ACL in a season in which Chargers players were dropping like flies early in the season. Verrett came back in 2017, but only played all of one game (with just one tackle) before having knee surgery once again and missing the rest of the season. He didn’t even manage that much in 2018, as he tore his Achilles on the first day of training camp and missed the whole season.

To sum that last paragraph up: Verrett has only played five games in the last three years, and only one in the last two. It’s unfortunate for Verrett that he has become this injury-prone. But with that kind of recent record, how are the Chargers supposed to depend on him? The risk of bringing him back is very high. The only way that bringing back Verrett would be a good idea for the Chargers at this point would be if it were on a one-year “prove it” deal. And that deal probably wouldn’t be worth much either. Verrett would be kind of fortunate to even get that at this point.  

The Chargers Without Verrett  

Obviously, the Chargers have had to try at getting a good #2 cornerback out there opposite Casey Hayward – for a couple years now. The efforts were a little shaky, but they have some options for who they want to go forward with (assuming they don’t draft somebody new or sign a free agent). They started out with Trevor Williams, who’s a little inconsistent but has made some good plays now and then. There’s also Desmond King, who is pretty clearly the second-best cornerback, but the Chargers seem to prefer having him as a slot/nickel corner.  

Then there’s Michael Davis. He was the main starter opposite Hayward after Williams got put on injured reserve himself late in the season. Davis’s play in his rookie year preseason in 2017 did not inspire confidence at all. It was kind of astounding that he even made the final roster. However, he actually had some surprisingly good moments down the stretch of the 2018 season and in the playoffs. He has yet to pull down an interception, but he did force a fumble and put up 40 tackles. It’s hard to say whether he truly is starter material at this point, but he’s worth keeping an eye on as he’s already made some impressive strides from his earliest days. It’s worth mentioning that Williams is also a free agent (though a restricted one). So the Chargers will have some decisions to make.  

Last Word 

Verrett was a good draft pick by the Chargers. Unfortunately, one couldn’t have predicted that he would have this much trouble staying healthy. Given how little he’s been able to suit up the last three years and that he’s a free agent now, it’s time for the Chargers to move on. They’ve already had to cycle through other cornerbacks in the wake of Verrett’s repeated injuries. It’s time for them to plan like he’s not going to be there.

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