49ers DB Jimmie Ward might follow DeMeco Ryans to Texans
Yes, the longest-tenured Niners player probably won’t return to San Francisco in 2023.
Defensive back Jimmie Ward did a lot for the team last season, moving from free safety to nickel cornerback, thanks to the surprising ascent of reserve safety Tashaun Gipson, who’ll be much cheaper for the 49ers to re-sign.
Assuming the 31-year-old Ward wants to cash in on what’ll likely be the last significant contract of his career, going to a cash-rich location like Houston makes more sense.
Plus, at least from what Ward said about head coach Kyle Shanahan “forcing” him to stay at nickel, it wouldn’t appear as if the Niners’ 2014 first-round NFL Draft pick would want to come back anyway.
A fresh start under DeMeco Ryans might be exactly what Ward would want, especially if he could cash in on a sizable deal and be part of the leadership for a team going through what’ll be a massive rebuild over the next few years.