Tony Jefferson is making his way back to an NFL field. The veteran safety didn’t suit up for a single snap in 2020, due to his recovery from a torn ACL suffered in October 2019. That injury eventually led to the Baltimore Ravens releasing him in the offseason to come, and he’s been working on a return ever since. He’ll now get the chance after reportedly signing with the San Francisco 49ers, per Adam Schefter of ESPN, joining their organization just ahead of mandatory minicamp.
A former undrafted free agent in 2013, Jefferson signed on with the Arizona Cardinals to begin his professional career — going on to spend four seasons in the desert. He’d miss only one regular season game during that entire stretch and his final year with the club saw him jump to the rank of full-time starter, logging 14 starts in 2016 and delivering 2.5 sacks, 79 combined tackles, one forced fumble, one interception and two pass break ups in the process.
Intrigued by Jefferson once he became an unrestricted free agent following that season, the Ravens signed him to a four-year, $34 million contract with $19 million guaranteed, penciling him in as starting strong safety in 2017. He’d start in 30 regular season games in his first two seasons in Baltimore before seeing his third year derailed by the aforementioned season-ending injury. The Ravens then opted to go in a different direction, freeing him before he could play out the final year of his deal.
Now set to land in San Francisco, the 29-year-old joins another prominent defense and seeks redemption after a one year hiatus from the league. The 49ers themselves are looking to bounce back from an injury-ravaged 2020, so the two sides will look to help each other out in that regard.