Jimmie Ward

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.

NFC Notes: Ward, Giants, Bucs, Rollins

Jimmie Ward‘s interesting career with the 49ers looks set for another turn. The fifth-year player’s been shuttled to different positions in each of his four years, with four coaching staffs annually shifting him between safety and cornerback. This year, it doesn’t look like Ward will have a surefire path to remain a starter. Having started 24 games for the past three seasons at either corner or safety, Ward now is set to be a super-sub in Robert Saleh‘s secondary. Second-year safety Adrian Colbert usurped Ward, and once Richard Sherman is ready to play, he’ll take Ward’s place at cornerback alongside Ahkello Witherspoon, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes. He may not be in line to start in the slot, either, with K’Waun Williams back.

It’s not going to be easy for (Ward) to start at any of those five (positons),” Kyle Shanahan said, via Branch, of the 2014 first-rounder who’s set to make $8.52MM this season. “Right now, he’s trying to do it at corner. We’ll reassess this at the end of OTAs and see how it is in training camp. … If Jimmie doesn’t earn a starting role, there’s also a good chance he’s the first backup at every single position: strong safety, free safety, nickel (corner), (outside) corner, because he’s capable of being a starter at all of those positions.”

Here’s the latest from some NFC franchises, continuing with the latest on a player who has a better path to a starting lineup.

  • Will Hernandez‘s starting spot will likely come at the expense of John Jerry, per Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com. The second-round pick is expected to make a strong push to move into the Giants‘ lineup, and with Big Blue signing Patrick Omameh earlier this offseason, Jerry may be the odd man out. The team could be keeping the veteran around as insurance, but it would cost the Giants more to cut him than it would yield in cap savings. Jerry’s the longest-tenured Giants offensive line starter, doing so since 2014. Both he and Omameh graded as top-40 guards last season, in the view of Pro Football Focus.
  • The BuccaneersUDFA contingent houses some players who received hefty guarantees to sign. Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen received $50K guaranteed to sign, in the form of a $15K signing bonus and a $35K base salary guarantee, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Temple tackle Cole Boozer received $45K to sign ($20K signing bonus, $25K base guarantee) and running back Shaun Wilson (Duke) collected a $10K signing bonus and saw Tampa Bay guarantee $10K of his base salary. Auman adds Western Michigan tight end Donnie Ernsberger received a $15K bonus.
  • Former Packers second-round pick Quinten Rollins is back working with his team on a limited basis during OTAs, Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes. Rollins tore an Achilles’ tendon in October and isn’t a lock for the roster, given both the severity of his injury and the Packers having drafted corners with their first two 2018 picks. Green Bay did deal Damarious Randall to Cleveland, however, opening up one spot. But the team also added former starter Tramon Williams in free agency. Cohen reports some in the Packers’ scouting department believe Rollins should be moved to safety, but it’s unclear whether the coaching staff concurs. Brian Gutekunst has said Rollins will try to work his way back into the cornerback contingent.

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Suh, Seahawks

Because of the lack of a solidified position, Jimmie Ward has enjoyed a unique start to his career. He’s been shuttled between cornerback and safety throughout his run with the 49ers, and despite returning to play for the same defensive coordinator in a second consecutive for the first time as a pro, Ward still doesn’t have a surefire position. Robert Saleh used him at safety last season after Jim O’Neil stationed him at cornerback in 2016. He saw action at both spots under Eric Mangini in 2015. Now, the 49ers are again ready to see if he can play outside corner again.

Jimmie Ward is a guy who’s played some outside corner in his career,” John Lynch said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “We’re going to experiment with that this offseason and see if that’s viable and give him some time there.”

The 49ers have Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon penciled in as cornerback starters, and Maiocco reports they don’t intend to re-sign Eric Reid. So, keeping Ward at safety would make more sense from a personnel standpoint. But the team nevertheless intends to persist experimenting with the fifth-year player as a corner. However, Maiocco notes the 49ers view 2017 seventh-rounder Adrian Colbert as a possible starting-caliber safety alongside Jaquiski Tartt.

Here’s the latest from the NFC West:

  • Speaking of positioning, the Rams will play Ndamukong Suh at nose tackle in their 3-4 base set, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com reports. Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers will play outside in Wade Phillips‘ base set, and Suh will play a position at which he’s lined up around 3 percent of his career, per Gonzalez. “Those are things that we talked about with Ndamukong,” Sean McVay said earlier this week. “We wanted to make sure, ‘Hey, do you feel good about the way we envision you?” Suh, who’s played only for teams that utilized 4-3 sets in his eight-year career, will see plenty of time as a 4-3 defensive tackle once the Rams are in sub packages. Los Angeles used sub sets 70 percent of the time last season.
  • Expected to be in the mix for wide receivers this offseason, the 49ers instead backed off of this year’s top UFA targets. Maiocco reports they weren’t interested in either Sammy Watkins or Allen Robinson but are expected to target a wideout in the draft. “What you don’t want to do is have a bunch of guys who are OK but are paid like the best,” Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s where you get in trouble and have to stay away from in free agency. It’s usually why the draft is the best way to go.” San Francisco extended Marquise Goodwin this offseason and has Pierre Garcon due back as well.
  • UFA signee Jonathan Cooper will line up at right guard initially for the 49ers. Laken Tomlinson will slot in at left guard, per Maiocco, who adds a slimmed-down Joshua Garnett will compete with Cooper for the right guard job. Tomlinson started 15 games at left guard for the 49ers last season. Last year’s right guard, Brandon Fusco, left in free agency. A 2016 first-rounder, Garnett started 11 games as a rookie.
  • The Seahawks are again in need of a backup quarterback. The team waived Trevone Boykin, and Austin Davis remains unsigned. Colin Kaepernick does not appear to be in the team’s plans, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Kaepernick visited the Seahawks last year before the team signed Davis. Geno Smith met with the team this week, and Mark Sanchez has also been linked to Seattle. Sanchez’s former backup with the Jets, Kellen Clemens, also has ties to new Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer. The 34-year-old backup could interest the Seahawks, per Henderson. Clemens also worked under Schottenheimer with the Rams.

NFC West Notes: Garoppolo, Peterson, Ward

49ers GM John Lynch is in constant contact with Jimmy Garoppolo‘s agent Don Yee, but their conversations have not included contract negotiations.

It’s kind of refreshing to talk to him because of the way he’s dealt with Tom [Brady], a lot of people have learned: He really wants these guys just to go focus on their business,” Lynch told KNBR (transcription via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle). “We’ve agreed that ‘Hey, there’s going to be a time for that, let’s keep in regular contact.’ But, no, we haven’t started discussions. I’m sure that will come in due time. And we’re looking forward to that time.”

Recently, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said that he does not expect an extension for the quarterback to be completed before the end of the year. Garoppolo is technically eligible for free agency this offseason, but the Niners are expected to use the franchise tag on him if they cannot hammer out a long-term deal.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • When asked if Adrian Peterson could be on the Cardinals in 2018, coach Bruce Arians said yes (Twitter link via Darren Urban of the team’s site). Arians added that Peterson and the returning David Johnson could co-exist. On Friday, Peterson announced that he intends to play next year, but the Cardinals have the option of cutting him without any financial penalty.
  • An extension for safety Jaquiski Tartt appears to be high on the 49ers‘ list of priorities this offseason, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Tartt’s season ended in early November with a broken forearm, but was among the team’s leaders in tackles. This will be the first offseason in which the Niners are able to negotiate a multi-year extension with the 2015 second-round pick.
  • Meanwhile, the 49ers have defensive back Jimmie Ward under contract for next year thanks to his fifth-year option, but they’ll have to think long and hard about retaining him, Maiocco writes. Ward’s inability to stay on the field (he’s missed 14 games over the last two seasons) could deter the team from bringing him back at that rate. His ability to play either cornerback or free safety is a plus, but it’s also something of a double-edged sword in this case. Because he played cornerback last year, his option price for 2018 jumped from $5.597MM to $8.526MM.
  • 49ers like safety Eric Reid, but it’s hard to imagine them getting into a bidding war for him in free agency with Tartt, Ward, and Adrian Colbert under contract, according to Maiocco. But, at the right price, the Niners would probably welcome him back.