Jimmie Ward

Texans Claim S Kareem Jackson Off Waivers, Place S Jimmie Ward On IR

After his Broncos tenure came to an unceremonious end, Kareem Jackson will return to where his career began. The veteran safety was claimed off waivers Tuesday, as first reported by Aaron Wilson of KPRC2.

Jackson’s roster exemption for his second suspension of the 2023 season expired on Monday. After Denver elected not to activate him in time for the team’s Week 16 game, though, questions were raised about his future with the franchise. The Broncos waived Jackson with the intention of retaining him via the practice squad.

That will no longer be the case, as he will now head to Houston for the first time since his Texans tenure came to an end in 2018. Jackson was once a teammate of head coach DeMeco Ryans, and he spent nine years with the franchise after arriving in the NFL as a first-round pick. He could have a path to immediate playing time, given the corresponding move made alongside his addition.

The Texans placed fellow safety Jimmie Ward on injured reserve due to a quad injury, per Wilson. After nine years in San Francisco, Ward followed Ryans to Houston this offseason. He has served as a full-time starter in his first Texans campaign, collecting 50 tackles and one interception while providing experience to a transitioning team. Jackson will look to do the same as Houston chases a postseason berth over the final two weeks of the season.

“I’m thrilled to be back with the Texans,” the 35-year-old said, via Wilson. “It’s all coming full circle, having spent a lot of time in Houston. I’m really excited and happy for DeMeco and all the success he’s having. I’m here to be a piece of the puzzle and help them win these last two games and get to the playoffs.”

The Broncos are still alive for a wild-card berth, but their playoff hopes took a major blow with Sunday’s loss to the Patriots. Jackson officially leaving the organization confirms that P.J. Locke, who filled in as a starter during his suspensions, will remain in a first-team role to close out the season. Houston is one of three teams still eligible to win the AFC South, but failing that a wild-card spot is still within reach. If Jackson does see time in the 2023 postseason, it will be with his original NFL team.

WR Notes: Watson, Metchie, Chark, McLaurin, Smith-Njigba

Jordan Love‘s tenure as the Packers‘ full-time starting quarterback will have a bit of a hurdle to navigate this week. In his first start since November 2021, Love will be without the team’s top returning receiver Christian Watson, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.

Watson is dealing with a hamstring injury that could potentially lead to an extended absence. Head coach Matt LaFleur claimed that he doesn’t think Watson will reach a three- or four-week absence but classified the second-year wideout as week-to-week.

The top target in Watson’s absence, fellow sophomore receiver Romeo Doubs, is also dealing with a hamstring injury but is only listed as questionable heading into the weekend. Rookie wideout Dontayvion Wicks is the third such receiver on the team dealing with a hamstring injury, but he managed to avoid the injury report altogether. Star tackle David Bakhtiari is also available after staying off the injury report.

Here are a few more reports on wide receiver injuries from around the league heading into Week 1:

  • The world will have to continue to wait for the NFL debut of Texans wide receiver John Metchie III, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2. Despite making a recovery from both a torn ACL and leukemia, Metchie is still dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. Houston is being patient, taking a “big-picture approach” to Metchie’s return. The team will be without safety Jimmie Ward and linebacker Blake Cashman for Week 1, as well.
  • The Panthers are slowly working their way back to full health in their receiving corps, according to Panthers writer Augusta Stone. Back ups Terrace Marshall and Ihmir Smith-Marsette are now fully participating in practice after recent injury trouble. Starters Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark Jr. both returned to practice today in a limited capacity. While Thielen was listed as questionable and could still play, Chark has been ruled out for the team’s season opener.
  • The Commanders drew lots of criticism when leading receiver Terry McLaurin sustained an injury as the team played its starters fairly deep into a preseason game in an effort to end the Ravens’ preseason win streak. They’ll dodge a bullet, though, as McLaurin will be active this week after making good progress from his turf toe injury, according to Commanders senior writer Zach Selby. He’s had a couple of full participation practices and should be good to go for Week 1. Defensive end Chase Young has been listed as questionable, though. Head coach Ron Rivera claimed that “if (Young’s) cleared, he’ll go.”
  • Despite undergoing wrist surgery just two and a half weeks ago, Seahawks rookie first round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba is expected to play in the team’s season opener against the Rams this Sunday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Head coach Pete Carroll, who was optimistic on the recovery timeline, confirmed as much this week.

AFC South Notes: Colts, QBs, Texans, Titans

While the Texans may be torn on a quarterback pick, the Colts are a near-lock to select a passer with their first choice. It is now possible every passer but Bryce Young will be available for Indianapolis at No. 4, which would put the retooling team to a decision. The Colts-Will Levis connection may be this draft’s second-strongest tie — after the Panthers-Young match — but Albert Breer of SI.com notes assistant GM Ed Dodds is high on C.J. Stroud. Dodds has been with Indy since 2017, becoming Chris Ballard‘s top lieutenant soon after the GM’s arrival.

Ballard, whom Breer adds was high on Levis beginning back in the fall, also is believed to place value on the increasingly popular S2 cognition test; Stroud’s low score has been leaked. Another team moving into the Texans or Cardinals’ spots could end up making the decision for the Colts, but if no trades emerge, Indy might have a fascinating Stroud-or-Levis decision on its hands. The two seem to be trending in opposite directions, but the Ohio State prospect has received higher grades — by scouting outlets and anonymous evaluators — as a prospect.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • With the Texans set for a complex call at No. 2 overall, not much has emerged regarding their No. 12 choice. But Houston, in the wake of the latest Brandin Cooks trade, may be targeting receiving help. Of the receivers, the Texans prefer Jaxon Smith-Njigba, per the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora. Despite missing almost all of his junior season, Smith-Njigba has regained momentum and has the best chance to be the top wideout of the board. With the Packers (No. 13) and Jets (No. 15) connected to the one-year Buckeyes wonder, the Texans could outflank their potential competition. John Metchie is back at work for the Texans, after missing 2022 following a leukemia diagnosis, but the team dealt Cooks to the Cowboys and did not do too much — the Robert Woods pickup notwithstanding — to replace him. The Texans are also considering moving down from No. 12, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who adds teams are not too interested in moving to 2.
  • One of the teams lurking as a trade-up candidate to outflank the Colts, the Titans are now being linked to trading back and accumulating picks. Both La Canfora and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler indicate buzz has emerged tying Tennessee to a trade-down effort from No. 11. Yes, with a few exceptions, most teams are willing to move up or down in each draft. But the Titans do have a decision to make regarding their QB future. The team toured prospects’ pro days but did not exhaust “30” visit resources at the position. Stroud is believed to be the Titans’ preference — assuming Young is out of the equation — and La Canfora views Titans trade-down talk as a smokescreen effort. Tennessee is believed to have dangled Ryan Tannehill in trades.
  • Although Jeffery Simmons staged a minicamp hold-in effort last year and lobbied for a new deal, Breer writes the Titans did not consider trading the standout defensive lineman. Ownership also assured Simmons, who since-fired GM Jon Robinson drafted in the 2019 first round, he was a long-term priority despite Robinson’s ouster, TitanInsider.com’s Terry McCormick tweets. The Titans made Simmons the NFL’s second-highest-paid defensive tackle, at $23.5MM per year, and gave him the highest D-tackle guarantee. Simmons is also coming off ankle surgery; the fifth-year standout said he underwent a cleanup procedure this offseason.
  • Jimmie Ward‘s issues with a return to cornerback last season became well known, but the longtime 49ers defender — after being moved to nickel corner again in-season — said he told DeMeco Ryans he expected last season to his his San Francisco finale. But Ward said (via KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson) Ryans communicated to him he would be interested in bringing the veteran defender to his HC destination. Ryans followed through on that, with the Texans signing Ward to a two-year, $13MM deal. Ward is back at safety.
  • Jaguars fourth-year cornerback Chris Claybrooks faces misdemeanor charges of domestic assault with bodily injury and vandalism under $1,000 stemming from an arrest earlier this month in Nashville, Jacksonville.com’s Gerry Smits reports. Claybrooks allegedly grabbed his ex-girlfriend’s arm and threw her cellphone to the ground.

Contract Details: Hurts, Robinson, Ward, Perryman, Anderson

Here are some details on deals signed recently around the NFL:

  • Jalen Hurts, QB (Eagles): Five years, $255MM. We had received some broad numbers from the deal, and some details still elude us, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter provided some cap numbers recently. Hurts will represent a $6.15MM cap hit in 2023, $13.56MM in 2024, $21.77MM in 2025, and $31.77MM in 2026.
  • Allen Robinson, WR (Steelers): Three years, $46.5MM. We covered some details, like how the Rams will pay most of Robinson’s 2023 salary in a nearly two-to-one split. According to Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com, the Rams will additionally take on $21.45MM of dead money for Robinson moving forward, pushing them up to about $74MM of dead cap in 2023.
  • Jimmie Ward, S (Texans): Two years, $13MM. The deal, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a guaranteed amount of $8.5MM consisting of a $4MM signing bonus, Ward’s 2023 base salary of $2.5MM, and $2MM of his 2024 base salary (worth $5.5MM total). Ward will receive a per game active roster bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500,000. The contract also includes an annual playing time incentive. If Ward plays 60% of the team’s defensive snaps, he’ll receive an additional $250,000. He’ll get two more $250,000 bonuses for reaching both the 70% and 80% snap share totals, as well.
  • Denzel Perryman, LB (Texans): One year, $2.6MM. We were aware that Perryman could push the value of his deal to $3.5MM with incentives, but thanks to Wilson, we now know how he can do that. The additional $900,000 is based on playing time. Perryman can earn $300,000 bonuses for reaching each of the 60%, 70% and 80% thresholds of defensive snap shares for the Texans.
  • Eric Rowe, S (Panthers): One year, $1.32MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $852,500 consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $700,000 of Rowe’s base salary (worth a total of $1.17MM).
  • Kris Boyd, CB (Cardinals): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
  • Dante Pettis, WR (Bears): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
  • Troy Reeder, LB (Vikings): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $100,000 consisting partially of a $25,000 signing bonus. Reeder’s base salary will be $1.08MM, and he can receive an additional workout bonus $25,000 and a roster bonus of $102,500 if he’s active Week 1. The deal includes a per game active roster bonus of $6,029 for a potential season total of $102,500.
  • Drew Sample, TE (Bengals): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $52,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM. Sample will also receive a roster bonus of $75,000 and a workout bonus of $25,000.
  • Armon Watts, DT (Steelers): One year, $1.23MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a signing bonus of $152,500 and a base salary of $1.08MM.
  • Elijah Wilkinson, OL (Cardinals): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $1.09MM consisting of a $152,500 signing bonus and $940,000 of Wilkinson’s base salary (worth a total of $1.08MM).
  • Khadarel Hodge, WR (Falcons): One year, $1.2MM. The contract, according to Wilson, has a base salary of $1.08 and a roster bonus of $120,000 if he is active for Atlanta’s first game of the season. The deal also includes a per game active roster bonus of $7,500 for a potential season total of $127,500.
  • Chosen Anderson, WR (Dolphins): One year, $1.17MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a signing bonus of $152,500.
  • John Penisini, DL (Panthers): One year, $940,000, according to Wilson.
  • Kevin Jarvis, OL (Bills): One year, $750,000, according to Wilson.

Texans To Play Jimmie Ward At Safety

Texans free agent acquisition Jimmie Ward will line up at safety for his new club, as Aaron Wilson of Click2Houston.com reports. Wilson adds that Ward’s two-year contract with Houston is worth $13MM.

Ward, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2014, has plenty of familiarity with new Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans, who joined San Francisco’s defensive staff in 2017 and who spent the last two seasons as the club’s defensive coordinator. Ryans, likewise, is familiar with Ward’s abilities and saw firsthand how well he performed when pressed into duty as a nickel corner in 2022.

However, prior reports had indicated that Ward would want to return to his natural safety position, and when the cap-conscious 49ers elected to re-sign Tashaun Gipson to a one-year, $2.9MM pact, it became even more clear that Ward’s days in the Bay Area were over. In speaking with reporters at last week’s owners meetings, Ryans praised Ward’s versatility but indicated that the Northern Illinois product would play safety.

“Jimmie has been very fun to work with because he’s jumped into that nickel role, and he thrived in the role, made probably more plays than he’s made playing safety, so Jimmie can play anywhere,” Ryans said. “But I’m going to play him at safety.”

Indeed, Ward set a career high with three interceptions in 2022, all of which he recorded over a six-game span beginning from Week 10 to Week 15. Even if he cannot replicate that same level of playmaking production with the Texans, though, Ryans values what the 10th-year pro brings to the table from a culture standpoint and what he will be able to impart to the team’s young defensive backs like Derek Stingley and Jalen Pitre (Ward’s presumptive running mate at safety).

Although the Texans largely struggled in 2022, the team did finish in the top-10 in passing defense and in takeaways, so there is a foundation for Ryans to work with as he seeks to return the club with which he once starred as a player to contention. Ward, meanwhile, was happy to join a rebuilding effort in exchange for a familiar scheme and the chance to play his preferred position.

Texans Expected To Sign DB Jimmie Ward

Jimmie Ward will join Hassan Ridgeway in following DeMeco Ryans to Houston. The new Texans HC will have a familiar secondary piece on defense, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reporting Ward intends to sign (Twitter link).

A 49er throughout his nine-year career, Ward has toggled between safety and nickelback. The 49ers brought back Tashaun Gipson on Sunday, to stay at Ward’s preferred safety position, and the longest-tenured 49er defender is now headed elsewhere.

While Ward frequently moved around on San Francisco’s defense, he provided a considerable boost for some of the NFL’s best units of recent years. Ward was in place at safety for the 49er defense that powered the team to Super Bowl LIV, leading to a 2020 re-signing, and he was on the field for San Francisco’s runs to the NFC championship game over the past two seasons. Ward played 105 regular-season games with the 49ers, starting 79.

Ryans was with the 49ers for six of Ward’s nine seasons, working his way up from the quality control level to DC. He oversaw the decision to move Ward back to the nickel, and while the former first-round pick is believed to have viewed such a move as a demotion, there are obviously no hard feelings. Ryans will now add a versatile player to his defense in Houston.

Ward having experience as a safety and a cornerback in Ryans’ scheme should benefit young Texans talents Jalen Pitre and Derek Stingley. The Texans have safety Jonathan Owens unsigned, potentially leaving a safety spot open for Ward opposite Pitre. With Ward going into his age-31 season, safety would seemingly make more sense at this point in his career. But Ryans was one of the San Francisco DCs to feel comfortable placing the veteran in the slot. If nothing else, Ryans has options here as he constructs his first Texans defense.

Pro Football Focus viewed Ward as having plenty of gas left in the tank, grading him as a top-15 DB this past season. Ward started the season late because of a summer hamstring injury and then suffered a hand malady shortly after returning. But he returned to play in 15 games (three in the postseason) to help the 49ers rank No. 1 in points allowed, yards allowed and defensive DVOA.

49ers Re-Sign S Tashaun Gipson

Following up on yesterday’s rumor that the 49ers were interested in bringing back potential free agent safety Tashaun Gipson, the two parties have agreed to a new one-year contract to keep Gipson in red and gold, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. Gipson will return to start in the defensive backfield opposite first-team All-Pro Talanoa Hufanga.

Gipson joined the 49ers just prior to the start of the 2022 season, eight days before the 53-man roster cut deadline. He didn’t make the initial 53-man roster and was signed to the practice squad. Gipson was a practice squad elevation in Week 1 to fill in for an injured Jimmie Ward and, two days later, was officially promoted to the active roster.

Gipson had a resurgent 2022 season for San Francisco returning five interceptions for 141 yards, numbers he hadn’t reached since his early years in Cleveland. He started every game of the season at safety alongside Hufanga, with both helping to form the league’s best scoring defense.

Gipson’s new deal is worth $2.9MM, according to Doug Kyed of A to Z Sports. The contract has a guaranteed amount of $2.17MM consisting of a $1MM signing bonus and $1.17MM of salary. Gipson will receive a per game active roster bonus of $40,000 for a potential additional season total of $680,000. He’ll also receive a $50,000 workout bonus. The deal also includes $300,000 in potential incentives that can be triggered through interceptions, fumble recoveries, playing time, team achievements, and a Pro Bowl selection. The contract includes three voidable years to spread out Gipson’s cap hit.

It was assumed that only one of Gipson or Ward would be re-signed, sending the other to the free agent market. With Gipson’s new contract, Ward, the longtime 49ers defensive back, will likely be testing the free agent waters. It may be difficult to say goodbye to Ward, who has been with the team since 2014, but it’s hard not to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of Gipson’s surprising year.

From beginning the year on the practice squad to starting every game of the season, Gipson surpassed all expectations and had a strong season while doing so. In return, Gipson has earned an opportunity to stay with one of the league’s top defenses, which should only assist him in continuing to excel.

49ers Want To Retain CB Emmanuel Moseley

The 49ers would like to re-sign cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, as GM John Lynch told reporters at his end-of-year presser last week. “He’s a guy we’d have interest in bringing back because of the way he plays, but also what he stands for,” Lynch said. “He’s one of us and we’d sure like to have him back” (via Kirk Larrabee of 49ers WebZone).

Moseley, a 2018 UDFA who broke through as a key player for the Niners during the 2019 season, landed a two-year, $10.1MM contract in March 2021. Unfortunately, a knee injury and an ankle malady forced him to miss six games during the 2021 regular season — though he did return to play every snap of the team’s three-game playoff run — and an ACL tear suffered in October cut his 2022 season short after just five games.

Even if the recent injury woes come up in contract negotiations, Lynch apparently is unconcerned about Moseley’s long-term prognosis. He indicated that Moseley’s recovery is going smoothly, and while he did not explicitly say so, it sounds as if Moseley could be cleared for the start of the 2023 season.

When he has been on the field, the Tennessee product has generally played well. He earned a solid 68.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021 and a 70.9 mark for his limited work in 2022, and PFF thought highly of his coverage abilities in both years. Underscoring those metrics are the miniscule 65.6 and 66.9 quarterback ratings that he has yielded over the past two seasons, and his ability to line up outside the numbers and in the slot further enhance his value.

Speaking of value, Spotrac suggests that Moseley could land a four-year deal paying him just shy of $17MM per season on the open market. As Larrabee notes, it is unclear if Lynch will need to go that far, with Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area recently suggesting that Moseley may have to settle for a one-year, “prove-it” deal. On the other hand, the fact that the 49ers do not boast much by way of proven CB depth behind Charvarius Ward and 2021 fifth-rounder Deommodore Lenoir — who performed well in the playoffs after an uneven regular season — could help Moseley’s leverage.

Longtime safety Jimmie Ward did line up as a nickel corner down the stretch of the 2022 season and acquitted himself nicely, but he is out of contract, and Maiocco believes he will want to return to his natural safety position. Maiocco says the club could seek another affordable pact with Tashaun Gipson, who signed a modest one-year deal at the start of the season as an injury replacement for Jimmie Ward and who never relinquished his hold on the the starting free safety job. If that happens, the team would likely bid adieu to Jimmie Ward.

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Akers, Reddick, Ward

The 49ers capitalized at the trade deadline Tuesday, acquiring a fifth-round pick in exchange for running back Jeff Wilson. When the offer came in from Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, it was an easy decision for 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan to make, as they had already agreed on the lowest possible compensation they would take for Wilson, according to Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports.

Wilson was strategically available in this fashion due to the 49ers’ recent acquisition of former Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey“You can only keep so many, just from a roster approach,” Lynch told the media. “We knew when we made the Christian move, someone was going to have to go, and, ultimately, Jeff’s the one.”

San Francisco will move forward with McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell (currently on injured reserve), rookie third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price, and undrafted rookie Jordan Mason. In Miami, Wilson will reunite with backfield-mate Raheem Mostert and head coach Mike McDaniel. He’ll also compete for snaps with Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin.

Here are a few more rumors from around the NFC West, starting with some insight in LA:

  • After lots of talk around trading running back Cam Akers, the Rams retained the 23-year-old back, allowing him to return to the team. Akers has insisted on multiple occasions that “he didn’t know why he was asked to leave the team,” according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN. He spoke in the locker room and told Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic that “at no point did he ask the Rams for a trade or release.” Regardless, he reported that a conversation he had with head coach Sean McVay yesterday was good for both parties and that Akers and his teammates are glad to have him back around the team.
  • After three average years in the Cardinals‘ defense, linebacker Haason Reddick made a request that would save his career, according to Zach Berman of The Athletic. Underachieving as an inside linebacker led Arizona to decline the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option. In an act of desperation, Reddick suggested to his coaches that he revert back to the pass rushing position he excelled at in college, taking advantage of the team’s star pass rusher, Chandler Jones, going to IR. He had been considered too small to succeed at the NFL level as a pass rusher, but the circumstances left Arizona with little choice. Reddick would finish the year with 12.5 sacks, leading to the resurgence of his young career.
  • It took a while for 49ers veteran defensive back Jimmie Ward to find success in the NFL. For three years, San Francisco tried to force Ward into a nickelback role before eventually settling him into success at free safety. Now, at 31-years-old, Ward has been asked to return to a nickel cornerback role, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. After playing only one snap in the first six games of the season due to a hamstring injury and a broken hand, Ward lost his starting job to Tashaun Gipson, who has simply played well in Ward’s absence. Now, with Gipson firmly at free safety and Ward coming back from injury with a club cast, Ward’s role comes at nickel corner. He’s accepted the circumstances and his new role moving forward with the team.

49ers Getting Key Starters Back Against Chiefs

San Francisco obviously got a big boost in acquiring former Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey this week, although his impact for Sunday afternoon’s matchup against the Chiefs is still yet to be determined. Well, the good news keeps rolling in for the 49ers as three starters in defensive end Nick Bosa, offensive tackle Trent Williams, and safety Jimmie Ward are all set to play this week as the team hosts Kansas City, according to a tweet from NFL Network’s Taylor Bisciotti.

Bosa returns to the lineup after missing last week’s game, a loss to the Falcons, with a groin injury that knocked him out in the first half of the team’s win over the Panthers in the week prior. Bosa should return his normal dominance to the Niners defense. In five games this year, Bosa has 6.0 sacks, 6.0 tackles for loss, and 16 quarterback hits. His presence will be a big boost against the wily Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.

San Francisco hasn’t seen Williams on the field since the star tackle went to the locker room in the third quarter of a Week 3 matchup against the Broncos. The 49ers offense has been relying on backup swing tackle Jaylon Moore during Williams’ absence, and, while he has filled in admirably, the return of the nine-time Pro Bowl tackle, Williams, will be a welcome addition.

While the 49ers have also been utilizing and enjoying the depth of their safety position, they will welcome the return of safety Jimmie Ward. The ninth-year veteran has enjoyed a starting role in San Francisco since 2015 with only injuries here and there limiting his playing time. Ward had returned from injured reserve against the Panthers, after missing the first four weeks of the season, but suffered a broken hand on the opening kickoff and left the game. After sitting out last week, the Niners are ready to put Ward back on the field. He’ll sport a full club cast on his left hand and, depending on how he’s feeling on the field, they’ll likely be careful with his return to avoid any more stints on the injured lists, meaning Tashaun Gipson, who has been starting in Ward’s absence, could still see some significant snaps.

While we still can’t be sure just how much McCaffrey will be a part of San Francisco’s gameplan, the addition of Bosa, Williams, and Ward bodes well for the 49ers’ chances against one of the juggernauts of the AFC.