Ward, 26, suffered a broken arm in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, so his placement on IR doesn’t come as a surprise. The former first-round pick had started six of seven games for the 49ers in 2017, but had only graded as the No. 69 safety among 87 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. San Francisco exercised Ward’s fifth-year option earlier this year, so he’ll back in the Bay Area in 2018. In the meantime, the 49ers will consider moving Eric Reid back to safety following a short stay at linebacker, tweets Matt Maiocco of the Bay Area News Group.
Gilliam, meanwhile, has barely played this season despite several injuries along the 49ers’ offensive line. He’d seen action on just 38 total snaps after inking a one-year, $2.2MM restricted free agent offer sheet with San Francisco (that the Seahawks declined to match). Gilliam does have 31 games of starting experience under his belt, but he’ll now hit 2018 free agency coming off an injury-marred campaign.
Ward and Gilliam aren’t the only 49ers’ players dealing with health questions, however. Left tackle Joe Staley will miss at least two games after suffering an orbital bone fracture on Sunday, while defensive lineman Solomon Thomas — who is dealing with a low-grade MCL sprain, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com — will also miss roughly two weeks, Shanhan announced. While the winless 49ers aren’t going anywhere in 2017, Staley’s injury likely negates any chance that San Francisco would trade him before Tuesday’s deadline.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.