Five teams Jaquiski Tartt could leave the 49ers for in free agency

Jaquiski Tartt has been a massively underrated player with the 49ers.

Make no mistake, the guy is one of the best safeties in the league and deserves to be considered one of the top echelon players in this position.

The only way that will happen is if he gets paid well, which I think will be out of the 49ers’ price range. There is no bigger lock for me for a player to go into free agency than Tartt. He wants to get paid, which is why he took so long to re-sign with the 49ers last season. Its market was not there, but now it will certainly have one.

Here are five teams Tartt could leave the 49ers for in free agency.

dolphins

It’s still a cop-out to pick the team with the most salary cap space ($61.2 million to be exact), but that’s because it still makes sense. And considering that former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel is now the Dolphins’ head coach, targeting Tartt could definitely be on their radar. The Dolphins have everything Tartt would need. A huge salary with the lack of state taxes that can diminish it. The city of Miami itself is also alluring.

Plus, adding Tartt to a secondary that already has Xavien Howard and Byron Jones is scary. Miami will need to improve their defense because Tua Tagovailoa won’t rack up a ton of points in a new offense. McDaniel understands what it takes to operate with a limited or average quarterback, so signing Tartt to improve defense will only make things easier on offense.

Chargers

Loophole to loophole, the Chargers have the second-largest salary cap space in the league at $57.5 million. Again, Tartt can cash in on a deal with the Chargers, but he knows California state taxes all too well. The only way I see him being interested is if the Chargers do the deal to make up for some of that, which I think they could. The Chargers, despite a defensively oriented head coach in Brandon Staley, were not a good defense. They have so much talent in defense, but massively underperform.

One way to improve this is to add superb security like Tartt. Staley might be interested in Tartt given his season with the Rams, so he might like him and understand that he can elevate his defense. Even with Derwin James and Nasir Adderley on board, adding Tartt would further improve the defense. I wouldn’t expect Tartt to go here because it’s a bit long, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Chargers tried to bring him in for a visit.

Jets

Last year’s free agency period had a group of 49ers players who were set to join former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh in New York with the Jets. Turns out it was only Tevin Coleman they could catch. Clearly Saleh has no juice with personnel decisions, but maybe this time around with the salary cap back to normal after a COVID offseason, they end up signing Tartt.

Marcus Maye is almost gone with the Jets, so they need a stud safety. Even if Maye stayed, they could still use Tartt and get better with him. What better way for Tartt to get paid ($44.7 million in cap space) AND maintain his top form than to go to a team where he knows the defensive pattern.

Raiders

Safety has been a massive need for the Raiders since Charles Woodson retired after the 2015 season. They’ve breathed heavily into the draft and free agency when it comes to safety. Jimmie Ward was even offered a deal by them, which supposedly involved more money than the 49ers, but opted to re-sign with San Francisco. The Raiders are pressed to safety. Only their rookie Trevon Moehrig is promising. They still need a massive upgrade.

Tartt can be that upgrade. With state taxes a myth in Nevada and $19.7 million in salary cap space, the Raiders can lure Tartt with a bargain. He will easily gain recognition as one of the best defensive players, if not players overall, if he so chooses. And the Raiders are a playoff contender, so he can have it all. Under defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, there’s definitely a fit with Tartt given Graham’s heavy use in the zone and overall adaptability.

Foals

The Dolphins are my first destination Tartt will target or desire for himself in free agency. Right after Miami, it’s the Colts for me. Of all the teams I listed, the Colts have the best situation for Tartt. They have $37 million in salary cap space in addition to being playoff contenders. Indianapolis, despite missing the playoffs, is a solid team to face. They need solid safety that can match the strength of a game they have with other teams.

Gus Bradley is the 49ers’ new defensive coordinator, so there’s a fit there. Robert Saleh coached under Bradley in Jacksonville and many of his elements in his defense stem from his time with Bradley. So Tartt has a familiarity with the Colts under Bradley and will only increase when he meets DeForest Buckner. The Colts are a team that should consider Tartt and vice versa.

Christy J. Olson