No. 1: Defensive Back Jimmie Ward
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The 49ers have already made overtures about re-signing Armstead, and Kyle Shanahan has also stated he wants Sanders back in 2020. In fairness, Shanahan also said he wants all his pending free agents back this offseason.
Ward might be the riskiest re-sign of them all, though.
The 28 year old enjoyed a career-best year in 2019, anchoring the back end of the Niners defense and solidifying a solid future at free safety after bouncing around San Francisco’s secondary the past few years. Ward also enjoyed a relatively clean slate of health, too, which will assuredly help him cash in on what could end up being around $8 million annually on the open market.
Still, the injury factor is something the Niners have to consider this offseason. In four of Ward’s six pro seasons, the former first-round NFL Draft pick has landed on injured reserve. While this isn’t any fault of his own, it’s something John Lynch and Co. have to work into the equation, deciding whether or not dishing out big bucks to an injury-prone player is a worthwhile decision.
While there are limited options elsewhere, one might expect San Francisco to let Ward hit the free-agent market, instead opting for a younger and cheaper option heading into 2020.