No. 2: 49ers Sign Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to Replace Jimmie Ward
Emmanuel Sanders, Arik Armstead and safety Jimmie Ward are the three big names the 49ers could potentially lose to NFL free agency this offseason.
Ward’s case is interesting. After receiving essentially a one-year prove-it deal from San Francisco in 2019, the former first-round draft pick responded with his best season as a pro, eventually being named Pro Football Focus‘ sixth best safety last year.
It helped Ward was mostly healthy, too, as injuries became a part of his NFL career since being selected in 2014.
The high level of production could earn Ward roughly $8 million on the open market, and one has to wonder if San Francisco would be comfortable dishing out that kind of money, especially considering Ward’s injury history.
True, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have stood by Ward ever since taking over the franchise in 2017.
Yet there’s also a key need to get both younger and cheaper, which points to the idea the 49ers could target someone like Chicago Bears safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on the open market. It’s an idea that has been floated around before.
While Clinton-Dix wasn’t quite as impactful last season as Ward was, the former is a year younger and has missed precisely zero games due to injury since being selected by the Green Bay Packers back in 2014.
Clinton-Dix would likely come cheaper, too, freeing up the would-be money spent on Ward to address other needs.
But San Francisco still needs to free up more.