Safety J.J. Wilcox was in Santa Clara to meet with the 49ers earlier this month and there were reports he agreed to a deal with the NFC West club, but he won’t be with the 49ers this season.
Wilcox never signed a contract and wound up heading across the country to sign a deal with the Jets instead.
“It was a three-way decision. It was the 49ers, the Jets and my family,” Wilcox said, via the team’s website. “We came to a decision that it was best to come here. It was an opportunity that was un-turn-down-able and you’ve just got to take it.”
Wilcox signed a one-year deal that can be worth a total of $1.25 million for the 2018 season and indicated that playing for Jets coach Todd Bowles was a big part of the equation. Wilcox said the two men got to know each other as Wilcox was going through the pre-draft process and that playing for a former safety is appealing.
“He was a defensive-minded coach, he played the position,” Wilcox said. “When you look at that kind of stuff, you want to go to a guy that knows your position who knows how to make players into great players.”
The Jets’ immediate concern at safety is making 2017 draft picks Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye into great players. Wilcox will vie for a reserve role with Terrence Brooks while Rontez Miles is recovering from a knee injury.