The 49ers could lose their free safety during free agency.
Starter Jimmie Ward will be an unrestricted free agent on March 18 and the 49ers may not re-sign him, even though he played well in 2019. Ward became a key member of a great defense, which the 49ers would love to keep together, but they have only $13 million in cap space. Meaning they may not have the funds to re-sign everyone.
“Year one, we brought 14 free agents up here,” general manager John Lynch said. “Those days aren’t happening anymore. We can’t go to the grocery store and say, ‘I’ll have that, I’ll have that, I’ll have that.’ It is more like, ‘I’ll have that, but I might have to put that back.’ There are trade-offs. It’s tightening up. It’s important that we really take a pragmatic approach. We’d love to keep everybody, but that’s probably not likely. It just doesn’t happen in this league.”
And Ward is expendable, because his backup, Tarvarius Moore, is good and makes roughly $800,000 per season. Ward most likely will sign a two-year deal worth roughly $8 million per season with another team — he increased his value in 2019 when he earned $4.5 million. It doesn’t make sense for the 49ers to nearly double Ward’s salary when they already have Moore. Tough business.
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