Free Agency: Why CB Aaron Colvin Might not be as Good as you Think

Recently, it was reported that the Jacksonville Jaguars were unlikely to re-sign cornerback Aaron Colvin.  And the 49ers have a glaring need at cornerback, so this should be a match made in heaven right? Not so fast.


Recently, Niners Live discussed our top draft choices at cornerback and in free agency. And guess what?  Aaron Colvin wasn’t on that free agent list and there are several reasons why he wasn’t. I’ll break down Colvin’s resume, why the 49ers would consider signing him if he wasn’t re-signed by the Jaguars and why he might not be as good as you might think from an objective perspective, of course.

According to, the 49ers have $ 68,989,382 in cap space. However, that number doesn’t reflect the new two-year contract extension (worth a reported $8 million) that was signed by offensive linemen Garry Gilliam.

And it’s been reported the 49ers are in discussions with running back Carlos Hyde‘s agent on a potential contract extension, according to Matt Maiocco).

What’s Aaron Colvin’s market value? Great question. Hold that thought. 

Colvin’s career resume at a glance

In his four seasons; Colvin has appeared in 48 games, starting 25 of those contests while accounting for 166 combined tackles, 14 passes defended, one forced fumble (two fumble recoveries, returning one for a touchdown), zero interceptions in the regular season and one interception (see video) coming in three playoff appearances. Note: In 2016, the National Football League handed down a four-game suspension to Colvin for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

What Colvin brings to the table

Colvin posted an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 80.0 in 2017. He’s solid in coverage as his PFF coverage grade of 80.5 (47th-ranked qualifying cornerback) indicates.

He’s listed at 6′ 0″ feet and 193 lbs., has the size/toughness that you covet to play cornerback in the NFL and at 26 years young he’s familiar (three years together in Jacksonville) with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s defensive 4-3 under/cover-3 scheme. He’s versatile, having played nickel back, both cornerback positions and even some linebacker in 2016. 

He also comes from one of the top defenses and secondaries in the league. 

Why CB Aaron Colvin might not be as good as you think

No career interceptions in the regular season (lacks ball-hawking skills) and just one in three playoff games concerns me. And even though he’s a willing tackler, he’s not an efficient or effective tackler (the Jags were ranked 21st against the run) with a PFF run grade of 41.7 (100th-ranked qualifying cornerback).  

Note: In the last three years, Colvin was targeted 176 times, surrendering 124 catches at a catching rate of 70.5 percent, allowed 1,079 receiving yards, two touchdowns, and a passer rating of 90.1.

Out of Colvin’s 563 passing snaps on defense, 364 came from the slot in which; Colvin was targeted 52 times, surrendering 39 catches for 277 yards and 138 yards in YAC (yards after the catch).

Opposing quarterbacks posted a quarterback rating of 86.8 when targeting Colvin in the slot in 2017. But, wait there’s more. He gave up a whopping 9.3 yards per reception (ouch). 

Important to note: In the 2017 playoff game, Jaguars versus the New England Patriots; wide receiver Danny Amendola (seven catches for 84 yards on nine targets and two touchdowns) played exclusively out of the slot and at times matched up against Colvin. 

The 49ers already have a nickel back in K’Waun Williams who was signed to a contract extension last season. It remains to be seen if Colvin can play on the outside at a high sustainable level.

Colvin was drafted by the Jaguars before fellow cornerbacks and teammates Jalen Ramsey (top-draft pick in 2016) and A.J. Bouye (top-free agent acquisition in 2017) were even on the team and he still couldn’t hold onto the starting cornerback position. 

Guesstimation: Colvin could command an annual salary of seven to nine million on the open market; that’s starving for cornerbacks, especially from a top-rank defense. 

Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course. Often imitated, but never duplicated.

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, player break down specialist, Co-Editor Sequoia Sims