Jimmie Ward

West Notes: Harris, 49ers, Chiefs, Raiders

Shortly after agreeing to a redone 2019 contract, Chris Harris announced intentions to bet on himself in advance of a 2020 free agency venture. The decorated Broncos cornerback bypassed free agency in 2015, signing a five-year extension, but is targeting top cornerback money next year. As for the chances of the Broncos being the team that authorizes such a deal, the soon-to-be 30-year-old defender said that would be the goal.

I’m definitely giving them a shot. Definitely,” Harris said, via NFL.com, of the prospect of re-signing with the Broncos after this season. “The situation could always be salvaged and worked out. So, I’ll go do my thing, and then at the end of the year, whatever, I’ll definitely give them a fair chance, for sure.

I’ve always said I want to retire here and that’s always been my mentality here. So, if I got to go show them in 16 games that I want to retire here, then I’m going to go do.”

When the Broncos and Harris discussed his deal this offseason, both sides preferred a long-term extension. But the parties were so far apart they shifted to this rare pay-raise agreement. The Broncos are projected to hold $50MM-plus in 2020 cap space, and while Harris would stand to profile as their most talented free agent-to-be, it appears this situation can be tabled for several months.

Here is the latest coming out of the West divisions:

  • After converting college safety Tarvarius Moore to cornerback his rookie year, the 49ers recently moved him back. Jimmie Ward‘s broken collarbone prompted this change, with The Athletic’s Matt Barrows noting (subscription required) Moore was stationed at corner as recently as last week. DC Robert Saleh praised Moore’s versatility. Fellow 2018 safety draftee D.J. Reed is also recovering from offseason surgery, so Moore’s latest position switch might not be permanent.
  • Given a starting role by two teams thus far in his career, Carlos Hyde is again set to work as a backup. The Chiefs plan to use Damien Williams as their starter over the former 49ers and Browns first-stringer, OC Eric Bieniemy said (via 610 Sports’ Brandon Kiley, on Twitter). Summoned into action because of Kareem Hunt‘s midseason exit and a Spencer Ware injury, Williams averaged 5.1 yards per carry during the regular season and scored four playoff touchdowns. Coming into his surprise promotion, Williams averaged 3.6 yards per tote in four seasons as a Dolphins backup. A year after signing a three-year, $15.25MM deal with the Browns, Hyde is attached to a one-year, $1.5MM Chiefs pact.
  • Trent Brown did not voice a preference to play left or right tackle, and the 6-foot-8, 380-pound Raiders blocker said moving back to right tackle will be less of a transition than sliding to the left side with the Patriots last year. The Raiders moved Brown because they prefer Kolton Miller on the left side, OC Greg Olson said. “Certainly, we had a chance to study Trent before when he was in San Francisco. We’ve seen him on both sides,” Olson said, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “We’ve had a chance to have Kolton, obviously, on the left side, so that’s where we’ve started this spring.”

Bay Area Rumors: Breida, 49ers, Raiders

Many 49ers are not healthy as the team goes through its OTAs. In addition to the likes of Jerick McKinnon, Weston Richburg, Jason Verrett and Kwon Alexander, the team lost one of its running backs because of a weightlifting injury. The 49ers will not have Matt Breida available until at least training camp. The running back, who battled maladies last season before ending the year on IR, suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle while lifting recently, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. San Francisco is already without McKinnon and backup Raheem Mostert, who is battling for a roster spot now that the team employs Tevin Coleman. While torn pectorals of any kind are obviously a concern, Kyle Shanahan said Breida will not require surgery. But the 49ers’ optimal backfield still has a ways to go before coming together.

Here is the latest from the NFL’s Bay Area teams, in their final offseason sharing a region.

  • While Breida is expected to return before the start of the regular season, Garrett Celek‘s timeline is more concerning. The eighth-year 49ers tight end suffered a concussion in Week 16 last season and has yet to be cleared from concussion protocol, according to Shanahan. Celek is also dealing with a back injury. The soon-to-be 31-year-old tight end resides as the 49ers’ second-longest-tenured player, having been with the team since 2012. The 49ers did draft Kaden Smith in the sixth round but, beyond Celek, do not have much at tight end behind George Kittle.
  • Jimmie Ward‘s injury likely will not keep him out for the rumored three-month span, with Maiocco believing that to be on the cautious side of the safety’s timeline. Should they get Ward back by training camp, the 49ers are not likely to sign a veteran safety — like Eric Berry or Tre Boston — to replace Ward, Maiocco adds. Although Ward is back on only a one-year deal, the 49ers believe he is their best defensive back when healthy. On a team that employs Richard Sherman, that’s certainly a notable distinction.
  • The Jon GrudenMike Mayock regime reshuffled their front office and scouting staff recently. The roles of recently hired staffers Dwayne Joseph, DuJuan Daniels and Walter Juliff are now known. Daniels, who joined the Raiders after a Patriots tenure, is now Mayock’s assistant director of player personnel. Joseph, who came over from the Eagles, will become the Raiders’ director of pro personnel. A former Cowboys exec, Juliff is now a senior advisor to the GM, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair tweets. Recently with the Senior Bowl and the Bills, Jack Gilmore is now in place as Raiders scouting coordinator. The Raiders also hired recent Eagles scouting coordinator John Hill as a pro scout. Lastly, Oakland promoted Trey Scott and Teddy Atlas (not that one) to assistant player personnel director and assistant director of college scouting, respectively. Scott was one of the few staffers to help with the Raiders’ draft, after Mayock dismissed the scouts prior to draft weekend.

49ers S Jimmie Ward Fractures Collarbone

49ers safety Jimmie Ward suffered a fractured collarbone while diving for a ball during Thursday’s organized team activities, according to Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). However, he should be able to return near the start of training camp, tweets Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Ward, a first-round pick in 2014, is no stranger to injury. As Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes (Twitter links), Ward finished the season on injured reserve in four of his first five NFL campaigns. He’s also broken his collarbone in the past, doing so in 2016.

The 27-year-old Ward has played all over the 49ers’ secondary, dabbling at both slot and outside corner in addition to playing safety. He was expected to compete with Adrian Colbert for free safety duties this offseason, but given that he’ll likely miss most if not all or training camp, Ward will be far behind in that positional battle.

Ward re-signed with the 49ers in March, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.5MM. However, roughly $1.5MM of that total, plus another $500K in incentives, is tied to Ward being on the field, so his most recent injury could affect his earnings if he suffers a setback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Re-Sign DB Jimmie Ward

Jimmie Ward is sticking around San Francisco. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the defensive back will re-sign with the 49ers. It’s a one-year pact worth $5MM. Adam Caplan clarifies that the deal is for $4.5MM with another $500K in incentives (Twitter link).

The 2014 first-round pick has spent his entire five-year career with the 49ers, but he’s yet to establish a definitive role with the organization. On the flip side, the defensive back has shown some unique versatility throughout his career, which probably explains why the 49ers were relatively eager to welcome back. Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets that while Ward primarily played cornerback last season, he’s expected to play free safety in 2019.

The 27-year-old ultimately appeared in nine games (seven starts) with the 49ers in 2018, compiling 24 tackles and one forced fumble. Pro Football Focus wasn’t particularly fond of his performance, ranking him in the bottom-10 among eligible safeties. Ward suffered a broken forearm late in the season that ultimately landed him on the injured reserve.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Redskins, Childress, 49ers

One of Eric Weddle‘s many suitors came from the NFC East. The Redskins inquired about the safety, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Ben Standig, but Weddle preferred the Rams’ proposal. Washington may be a spot for one of the many starter-caliber safeties on this year’s market, with the team having waived D.J. Swearinger and with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix‘s contract having expired.

Here is the latest from Washington, along with other NFC teams, with the legal tampering period less than 48 hours away.

  • The Redskins’ Case Keenum trade frees them up to make more competitive offers to non-quarterbacks in free agency, instead of seeing Teddy Bridgewater or Tyrod Taylor proposals complicate the team’s plan. However, Washington is still expected to add at this spot this offseason, and Standig notes it won’t be a Josh Johnson reunion — barring a Colt McCoy departure. Another Johnson pact was previously mentioned as a possibility, but that may no longer be in the cards. Washington profiles as a possible quarterback destination in this year’s draft, but in picking at No. 15 and unlikely to trade up, this may be one of the teams that waits for 2020’s higher-profile group of quarterbacks.
  • The rumors of Markus Golden hitting the market look accurate, with AZCardinals.com’s Mike Jurecki tweeting the veteran edge rusher is set for free agency. The Cardinals and Golden engaged in talks earlier this offseason, but nothing of consequence emerged from those discussions. While Golden stands to benefit from the franchise tags handed out to the top-tier pass rushers who could have hit the market, and Jurecki posits a possible Golden reunion with former Cards DC James Bettcher via Giants signing, the former second-round pick has not been productive since the 2016 season. Golden’s ACL tear in 2017 sidetracked his career, halting the momentum he’d created with a 12.5-sack 2016.
  • Brad Childress may be ready to circle back to the Bears. Affiliated with Matt Nagy‘s first Bears staff briefly, Childress then bolted for the Alliance of American Football. But he did not last until the AAF’s opener. However, Childress looks set to rejoin Nagy in Chicago, with NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweeting the former Vikings HC is expected to serve in an offensive consulting role under Nagy. Childress and Nagy worked together with the Chiefs. Childress also retired after the 2017 season, but that turned out to be quite short-lived.
  • The 49ers still want to bring back Jimmie Ward, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, but it doesn’t appear their interest goes beyond the one-year offer they were dangling for the 2014 first-round pick. Ward was thought to be on the outs in San Francisco, but the team did not receive much consistency from its secondary last season. San Francisco’s staff graded the versatile defensive back as the team’s best secondary cog, Maiocco adds, prior to his season-ending injury in November, Maiocco adds.
  • The contract the 49ers gave kicker Jonathan Brown is a two-year deal, the team announced. San Francisco used its franchise tag on Robbie Gould. Brown was with the Bengals during the past three training camps but has yet to play in a regular-season game.

49ers Want Jimmie Ward Back

The 49ers want defensive back Jimmie Ward to return, but only on a one-year deal, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. The 49ers recognize that another team could approach him with a multi-year offer, so they’re bracing for the possibility that he won’t return. 

The 49ers value Ward’s toughness and versatility, but they also have reservations about his health.

It’s not an easy answer, because there’s a long (injury) history,” Lynch said at the combine. “But there’s also a very, very talented football player who I would tell you grew into a really special leader.”

Ward, a, first-round draft pick in 2014, made $8.5MM last season. He hasn’t necessarily lived up to his pricey rookie deal and the 49ers want to see how he does in 2019 before considering a longer arrangement. Still, coach Kyle Shanahan wants him in SF next year.

I love Jimmie Ward,” Shanahan said. “I really hope to have him back. We all know he’s struggled a little bit to stay healthy. But he’s a guy, as a person, I’ll go to war with every day. I really trust and believe in, and I love him as a player, too. I hope it works out that we get him back.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/27/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • Signed: OL Gerhard de Beer

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

49ers DB Jimmie Ward Done For Season

49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward will miss the remainder of the season after breaking his forearm on Sunday, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).

Ward hasn’t been able to avoid injury over the past year-plus, as he also missed the second half of the 2017 campaign with a broken arm. A former first-round pick, Ward had played both safety and cornerback this season, displaying versatility when injuries elsewhere on the San Francisco roster forced him to move between positions. He’d started the past four games at corner in place of Adrian Colbert, who was placed on injured reserve in late October.

“I wanted to finish the season off,” Ward said, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “Safety is easy for me. It’s natural. Corner, I just started playing corner when I got in the league so each play, each game, I just started getting better, just like I was getting better at safety. So, I’ll be all right. I’ll bounce back and I’ll ball.”

Ward is currently playing on his fifth-year option, on which he’s collecting $8.526MM before hitting free agency next spring. The 49ers could conceivably re-sign Ward before he reaches the open market, but given that he was at least mentioned in trade rumors in November, it’s possible San Francisco is ready to move on.

Ward, 27, will end the 2018 season having appeared in nine games while making seven starts. He played 62.9% of the 49ers’ defensive snaps and roughly a third of the club’s special teams snaps, managing 24 tackles in that time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Carr, Raiders, Peterson, Taylor

We learned earlier this morning that Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson has requested a trade, though the team wants to keep him. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Jackson, on his way to the team bus this morning, declined to comment on the report.

With the trade deadline two days away, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league (Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who says many GMs expect there to be three to five “impactful” deals over the next 48 hours, offers a helpful primer, which includes a list of some of the most-discussed players on the market):

  • Albert Breer of TheMMQB says that the Raiders may not be done dealing just yet, though he does not expect the team to move Derek Carr (indeed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported this morning that the Raiders have told Carr that he is the quarterback of the present and future). However, Oakland is open to moving Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley, though the Raiders are driving a “hard bargain” with teams interested in Conley.
  • Breer names a number of other players whose names we have not heard in recent rumblings but who could nonetheless be on the move: the PackersHa Ha Clinton-Dix, the 49ersPierre Garcon and Jimmie Ward, the CardinalsChandler Jones, and the BroncosShane Ray and Brandon Marshall. Breers adds that San Francisco would need to get something “significant” to deal Ward. He also says that, while teams are certainly interested in Denver corners Bradley Roby and Chris Harris, he thinks it would be difficult for the team to trade either.
  • If they had elected to trade Patrick Peterson, La Canfora writes that the Cardinals could have received a bounty for him, and may have even landed multiple first-round picks (in fact, several teams were already prepared to offer a first- and second-rounder). JLC reports that Peterson was considered the “crown jewel” of the deadline, and given his attractive contract status, he may be the subject of renewed trade rumors during the offseason.
  • Breer also writes that the Browns are open to trading Tyrod Taylor, whose contract structure could make a deal feasible. Meanwhile, Tony Grossi of ESPN.com suggests that Cleveland GM John Dorsey may be trying to acquire wide receiver help (Twitter link).
  • The Bills remain unlikely to trade LeSean McCoy, per Schefter.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has demonstrated a proclivity for making trades, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says Maccagnan has been doing his due diligence on everyone, including big-name players. But while there is a sense that New York could swing a deal, the fact that the team is in a no-man’s land between buyer and seller, and the fact that the roster does not have many tradeable pieces, could make a trade difficult to pull off.

NFC West Rumors: Rams, 49ers, Thomas

Despite the Rams‘ dominance through four games, they haven’t deployed much in the way of name talent at linebacker. They traded Alec Ogletree to the Giants and shipped Robert Quinn to the Dolphins. Los Angeles is in line to have its top current ‘backer back in Week 5, however. Sean McVay expects Barron to make his season debut against the Seahawks after missing the first four games due to a lingering Achilles injury that caused him to miss all of Los Angeles’ offseason program.

We’ve kind of got a plan in place where we’re anticipating him being able to go. And that’s subject to change based on how he responds. But he’s feeling good up to this point,” McVay said, via Myles Simmons of TheRams.com. “We’re hopeful to be able to get him back and if that’s the case we’ll be excited to get Mark out there.”

Barron started 44 games for the Rams the past four seasons and is in the third season of a five-year, $45MM contract. The Rams have started Cory Littleton and Ramik Wilson at inside linebacker this season.

Here’s the latest from this division, one that features a clear-cut favorite at the quarter pole.

  • Although McVay said earlier this week Greg Zuerlein had a chance to return Sunday, that probably remains at least a week away. The second-year Rams coach said the signing of Cairo Santos likely indicates Zuerlein is still a bit way from resuming his season. He’s been sidelined since Week 2 warmups after sustaining a groin injury.
  • Richard Sherman‘s per-game bonus-laden contract makes it critical he stay on the field as much as possible, and the veteran cornerback has a chance to play this week. The 49ers defender participated in a limited practice on Thursday and would be in line to start upon returning. However, not much else is known about the 49ers’ corner situation, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward and Greg Mabin could continue a rotation on the outside, Robert Saleh said, adding this is a product of Mabin’s progress rather than the coaching staff having issues with Ward or Witherspoon’s play.
  • Don’t look for D.J. Reed to usurp the rehabbing Adrian Colbert. Kyle Shanahan confirmed, via Maiocco, the original San Francisco free safety starter will get his job back once he returns from a hip contusion. Shanahan would be “surprised” if Colbert isn’t ready to return this week. The second-year player did not start last week but got in two full practices this week.
  • The Seahawks could franchise Earl Thomas for $12.48MM, but the three-time All-Pro could well hit the market. If he’s not franchised, it’s incredibly hard to envision Thomas back with the Seahawks. And if he is, another long holdout almost certainly commences. Despite having a broken leg end his season, Thomas may see a robust market come March, with Joel Corry of CBS Sports citing big deals given to Allen Robinson (coming off an ACL tear) and Matt Kalil (off a hip injury) as why Thomas can be expected to be a coveted commodity. Thomas has already surmounted a significant leg injury; he returned from that season-ending malady to be a 2017 Pro Bowler. He should have immense incentive to get cleared by the time free agency opens.