49ers free agency: Grading each opening-wave move by John Lynch

John Lynch General Manager of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
John Lynch General Manager of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
2 of 10
Charvarius Ward, Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward (35) Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

John Lynch, 49ers signing Charvarius Ward

San Francisco 49ers. player. 42. Cornerback. Charvarius Ward. B+. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis

If San Francisco could pick only one position to upgrade in NFL free agency this offseason, it had to be cornerback.

Last year’s issues here were more than apparent, both during the regular season and especially in the postseason. Sure, there’s hope 2021 rookie corner Ambry Thomas can build upon what was a decent finish after a rough start to the year. But the 49ers nevertheless needed to infuse some ready-to-go talent.

The Niners’ first big-name signing of free agency was former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward, inked to a three-year deal worth up to $42 million, which equates to an annual average of $14 million per season.

Ward, who’ll turn 26 years old this offseason, enjoyed three productive years as a starter for KC and finished last season with 67 tackles, two interceptions and 10 passes broken up. Even if some feel he’s on the fringes of being a CB1 or CB2, he nevertheless upgrades San Francisco’s biggest position of need in a big way.

About the only drawback is the 49ers could have gone after former New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson, who signed with the Los Angeles Chargers instead on an annual average of just $2 million more than what the Niners are paying Ward.

For a team in need of generating interceptions, San Francisco would have been better off with Jackson, but Ward is nevertheless a very good pickup.