49ers free agency news: Jimmie Ward joining DeMeco Ryans with Texans

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Jimmie Ward #1 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Jimmie Ward #1 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

Indeed, former 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is bringing some of his former players to the Texans, including Jimmie Ward.

The San Francisco 49ers already lost their defensive coordinator of the last two seasons, DeMeco Ryans, to the Houston Texans.

Now, during the opening wave of 2023 NFL free agency, the Niners are losing quite a bit more.

Ryans was expected to purge some former San Francisco players after being named Houston’s head coach, and he already took Bobby Slowik to be his offensive coordinator.

But that isn’t all.

49ers lose DB Jimmie Ward to DeMeco Ryans, Texans in NFL free agency

The 49ers were going to lose a number of well-known players on both sides of the ball this offseason, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is off to the Las Vegas Raiders.

On defense, perhaps the biggest name is defensive back Jimmie Ward, as NFL Network reported he would be heading to Houston to join Ryans with a rebuilding Texans squad:

Ward, 31 years old, was previously the Niners’ longest-tenured player. Originally selected in Round 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Northern Illinois, Ward played every position within the defensive backfield during his San Francisco tenure.

Including moving from free safety to nickel cornerback in 2022, thanks to the surprising play from a fellow veteran, Tashaun Gipson, whom the 49ers re-signed just prior to Ward departing.

In Houston, Ward will be joining a budding secondary under Ryans that already includes Jalen Pitre, Desmond King, Derek Stingley and Steven Nelson.

Not bad for the Texans. Not bad at all.

DeMeco Ryans, Texans also purged Hassan Ridgeway from 49ers

Ward was one of the players we guessed would follow Ryans to Houston, but he isn’t the only one.

The Texans also grabbed veteran defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, whom the Niners inked as a free agent a year ago at this time with the intent of beefing up the defensive line’s depth.

Read More: 49ers NFL free agency tracker: Who’s coming, going in 2023?

In that regard, Ridgeway was a quality addition and played a number of roles before a pectoral injury all but ended his 2022 campaign after 12 games. Up to that point, however, the 28-year-old Ridgeway was a noteworthy contributor who had 28 tackles, four quarterback hits and a sack during his lone year with San Francisco.

With the opening wave of NFL free agency still very much in play, Ryans and the Texans could still purge away some former 49ers players in the next few days, and it wouldn’t be shocking whatsoever to see it happen.

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