The 49ers don't need Charvarius Ward to do anything notably different than what he did his first season with the Niners a year ago.
It was refreshing to have the San Francisco 49ers finally realize how much they'd neglected the cornerback room in recent years leading into the 2022 offseason.
While Ward failed to reach his first Pro Bowl despite playing on the NFL's best defense last season, it's clear he made a massive difference for then-defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans (whose jump to the Houston Texans was probably influenced ever so slightly by Ward's prowess).
At any rate, Ward finally gave San Francisco a top-end corner, the first since veteran Richard Sherman was in the fray from 2018 through 2020.
The former undrafted free agent out of Middle Tennessee State might have never been much of a ballhawk. But, last year, opposing quarterbacks posted a mere 82.4 passer rating when targeting him.
All the 49ers want is for the 27-year-old Ward to have a similar season as the one he enjoyed last year.
What is Charvarius Ward's contract with the 49ers?
Ward finally got paid to enter 2022 after a solid and productive four-year tenure in KC, landing a three-year, $40.5 million contract with the Niners that has $26.62 million guaranteed, according to Spotrac.
Ward will count for $6.42 million against the cap this season, but his number jumps up to a whopping $17.9 million in 2024.
So, needless to say, a high level of play this season would help justify the substantial raise a little over a year from now.
What might be different for Charvarius Ward with 49ers this season compared to 2022
Ward is still San Francisco's No. 1 corner with no question, but there have been a number of significant changes around him.
The 49ers' No. 2 cornerback from last year, Emmanuel Moseley, left via free agency after tearing his ACL in Week 5. Replacing him was third-year pro Deommodore Lenoir, who is penciled in as the boundary starter entering 2023.
On top of that, nickel corner Isaiah Oliver appears to be the favorite to start.
All this matters because zone cornerbacks must have good chemistry with each other so they can know when to hand off opposing receivers and such. Ward has dealt with some minor injuries during the offseason, including training camp, which means he's lost a little bit of that time to work on said chemistry with the new faces.
Now, this hopefully shouldn't impact the Niners defense too much, and Ward should maintain his level of play through 2023.
And that's all San Francisco should bother asking for.