49ers will have hard time re-signing Jimmie Ward
The San Francisco 49ers’ recent spending sprees will eventually cost them. The Niners will have to part ways with key players in the 2020 offseason, after spending big — especially on defense — the last few free agency cycles.
Jimmie Ward could be one of those players. A converted cornerback to safety, the 28-year-old has enjoyed a career year as a starter in the 49ers’ Super Bowl secondary. He will be a free agent in March, barring a contract extension.
Ward started 13 games for the 49ers in 2019. He recorded 60 combined tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and eight pass deflections. According to Pro Football Reference, he allowed a 105.8 passer rating in coverage and has missed four tackles over the last two seasons combined.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network explained in Miami that re-signing him will be tough.
“He has played really, really well,” Rapoport said of Ward (h/t Brian Witt of NBC Sports. “Might have even priced himself out of San Francisco, which for him would be good news.”
The 49ers are expected to have a hair under $14 million in available cap space in 2020, per Over The Cap. Ward’s contract should fit into their salary cap, but the priority for San Francisco should align closer to extending their young playmakers in George Kittle, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner.
The 49ers will likely have to part ways with some of their veterans in the offseason. Luckily, their spending has paid off. They are back in the Super Bowl to face the Kansas City Chiefs. Winning it all could soften the blow of losing a starter.