Jimmie Ward is staying put after the San Francisco 49ers agreed to a deal with the versatile safety, who follows Arik Armstead in remaining with the team.
Jimmie Ward will remain a member of the San Francisco 49ers after agreeing to a new contract with the NFC champions.
Adam Caplan reported the deal.
Ward has divided opinion since the 49ers took him with the 30th-overall pick in 2014. He endured a difficult rookie year and much of his pro career has been blighted by struggles staying healthy.
However, he enjoyed an excellent 2019 and made the free safety role his own. Given the importance of the position to Robert Saleh’s defense, it makes sense for the 49ers to bring him back having finally found an answer at that spot.
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Ward agreed to a three-year deal worth $28.5million.
The #49ers are giving safety Jimmie Ward a 3-year deal worth $28.5M, source said. He was a priority for that defense.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2020
#Raiders were on Jimmie Ward as well, sources said.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 17, 2020
Jimmie Ward is re-signing with the 49ers per @caplannfl
Ward: 6th highest graded safety in 2019 pic.twitter.com/bGPy7jtIkf
— PFF (@PFF) March 17, 2020
Every staff, from day one, has always been very complimentary of Jimmie Ward. In fact they have all loved him as a player, and appreciate what he brings to the field. https://t.co/L1LzAXE7ZH
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) March 17, 2020
Jimmie Ward is the #49ers longest tenured defensive player.
— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) March 17, 2020
Imagine someone telling you before the 2019 season that the 49ers would eventually trade DeForest Buckner and sign Arik Armstead and Jimmie Ward to multi-year extensions in the same day. https://t.co/XTOSuS5TVU
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) March 17, 2020
The 49ers had more salary cap room to re-sign Ward following the stunning trade of DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. Effectively, the Niners chose re-signing Armstead and Ward over giving Buckner, consistently one of their best defensive players since his arrival in 2016, a monster extension.
Both will need to live up to their deals to vindicate that decision. Keeping Ward around ensures the 49ers will not have a massive hole to fill in the secondary, and they have retained his services at a reasonable price.
However, having finally won over fans last season, Ward enters 2020 under significant pressure to maintain the consistency that made him a priority re-signing for San Francisco.