49ers

The 49ers' vision for Jimmie Ward

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AP

The 49ers' vision for Jimmie Ward

SANTA CLARA -- Before the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo get together on a contract for the 2018 season, the 49ers’ two highest-priced players at the beginning of the offseason are wide receiver Pierre Garçon and defensive back Jimmie Ward.

Both ended the season on injured reserve. Both are expected to be ready for the beginning of the team’s offseason program in mid-April. Garçon has done plenty throughout his 10-year career to earn a cap number that exceeds $9 million. He was on pace for a 1,000-yard season without ever benefitting from Garoppolo at quarterback. Through eight games, Garçon led the 49ers with 40 catches for 500 yards before going on injured reserve with a non-displaced fracture of the C-5 pedicle -- an injury that requires an eight-week recovery.

Ward’s pay for the upcoming season is scheduled to quadruple to $8.526 million – the required amount to retain his services as a 2014 first-round draft pick via the fifth-year option.

While Ward’s scheduled salary is high, the 49ers certainly have the cap space to pay him. Also, there is no financial commitment for future seasons. The 49ers could approach Ward about negotiating a multi-year contract extension, too.

“We’ll figure all that out,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “But we’re excited to have Jimmie back and plan on him being a big-time contributor to this team.”

The scheduled salary reflects the pay that was set for a cornerback. Ward moved to cornerback in 2016 before the new coaching staff determined he was a better fit back at free safety in the new defensive scheme.

The 49ers need to find another starting cornerback to pair with Ahkello Witherspoon, but it is uncertain whether the team will seriously consider another position change for Ward. Team sources indicate that Ward is viewed as a player who can be an acceptable cornerback. But the 49ers believe Ward can be a Pro Bowl-caliber free safety. However, the 49ers already have two other promising safeties under contract: Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert.

“We like Jimmie Ward,” Lynch said. “We like the versatility that he brings to this team. We like the mindset that he brings. He’s a tough football player.”

Ward missed 22 games in his first four seasons due to a variety of injuries, including fractures of his foot, collarbone and forearm.

“I’ve seen players before have a run of injuries early in their career and somehow they figure something out and they get through it,” Lynch said. “Hopefully that can be the case for him.”

 

49ers 2018 scheduled released: Analysis and predictions

49ers 2018 scheduled released: Analysis and predictions

The 49ers released their full 2018 schedule on Thursday evening. Here's the slate:

WEEK 1
Sunday, Sept. 9, at Minnesota, 10 a.m. (FOX)
There was a time when we thought the Vikings’ quarterback would be suiting up for the road team in this matchup. But, thanks to Bill Belichick’s generosity, Jimmy Garoppolo will be wearing the road whites while Kirk Cousins and his talented supporting cast will be decked out in purple. Garoppolo’s undefeated run as a starting quarterback is put to the test in the opening week. And San Francisco newcomer Jerick McKinnon gets an early chance to prove to his former team that he should have been an every-down running back. Prediction: L.

WEEK 2
Sunday, Sept. 16, vs. Detroit, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
First-year Lions head coach Matt Patricia – and the pencil behind his ear – travel to the Bay Area for the organization’s first visit to Levi’s Stadium. Prediction: W.

WEEK 3
Sunday, Sept. 23, at Kansas City, 10 a.m. (FOX)
Alex Smith’s five-year run as Kansas City’s starting quarterback came to an end. Arrowhead Stadium is now Patrick Mahomes’ home, and it remains a difficult environment for road teams. Prediction: L.

WEEK 4
Sunday, Sept. 30, at L.A. Chargers, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
Fans of the 49ers travel well. The challenge is on to snap up as many of the 27,000 tickets in the Charges’ temporary home venue as possible. The 49ers will need a lot of help against a talented team that finished last season with a lot of momentum. Prediction: L.

WEEK 5
Sunday, Oct. 7, vs. Arizona, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
The Cardinals have undergone a facelift with the retirements of head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer. The new crew of coach Steve Wilks and Sam Bradford – or whoever ends up at QB – inherits a six-game head-to-head win streak against the 49ers. Prediction: W.

WEEK 6
Monday, Oct. 15, at Green Bay, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Aaron Rodgers did not get any say in Packers personnel matters this offseason, and we’re hearing the NFL schedule-maker did not consult him, either. But he certainly will not complain about this prime-time matchup against the team for which he rooted as a child growing up in Chico. Prediction: L.

WEEK 7
Sunday, Oct. 21, vs. L.A. Rams, 5:20 p.m. (NBC)
This could be a pivotal mid-season matchup featuring two franchises that took different approaches during the offseason. The 49ers were measured in free agency, while the Rams played fantasy football. L.A. general manager Les Snead went all-in during the offseason with the additions of cornerback Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, along with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and receiver Brandin Cooks. Prediction: L.

WEEK 8
Sunday, Oct. 28, at Arizona, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
After back-to-back three-point losses in the desert the past couple of seasons, the 49ers will need to take care of business against the Cardinals to be serious contenders for a playoff spot. Prediction: W.

WEEK 9
Thursday, Nov. 1, vs. Oakland, 5:20 p.m. (FOX/NFLN)
Levi’s Stadium was built as a two-team facility, just in case the Raiders were interested in moving to the South Bay. In the building’s fifth year, the Vegas-bound Silver and Black finally get a look inside. Facing the 49ers during a short week is ideal for the Raiders, as Jon Gruden and Co. do not have to step on a plane. Kyle Shanahan will match wits against the man who gave him his first NFL job. Shanahan was Gruden’s offensive quality control coach in 2004-’05 with Tampa Bay. Prediction: W.

WEEK 10
Monday, Nov. 12, vs. N.Y. Giants, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)
The 49ers have a short week, followed by a long week. A year ago, the Giants’ trip to Levi’s Stadium resulted in the end of the losing streak of 49ers’ franchise-worst start. C.J. Beathard was under center that day, and Marquise Goodwin provided one of the highlights of the season with an 83-yard touchdown catch just hours after he and his wife lost their baby boy due to complications from pregnancy. Prediction: W.

WEEK 11
Bye week

WEEK 12
Sunday, Nov. 25, at Tampa Bay, 10 a.m. (FOX)
The 49ers will have to go light on the tryptophan from their Thanksgiving feasts to be ready for the cross-country travel and their matchup against Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. The 49ers will be making just their second trip to Tampa of the past 14 seasons. Prediction: W.

WEEK 13
Sunday, Dec. 2, at Seattle, 5:20 p.m. (NBC)
Is there any doubt Richard Sherman will be a little bit hyped to go back to Seattle with something to prove to Pete Carroll and John Schneider? The “12s” will find out what it’s like when Sherman is not on their team. It’s a different Seattle team, but Russell Wilson is as elusive as ever. Prediction: L.

WEEK 14
Sunday, Dec. 9, vs. Denver, 1:05 p.m. (CBS)
These teams are skipping their annual exhibition game in lieu of the regular-season matchup. The Broncos’ last meaningful visit to Levi’s Stadium turned out pretty well – a victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Prediction: W.

WEEK 15
Sunday, Dec. 16, vs. Seattle, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
It’s not a rivalry until the 49ers prove they can actually beat the Seahawks, who hold a nine-game head-to-head win streak. (It could be 10 at this point.) The Seahawks’ dominance began in the NFC Championship game in January 2014, when Sherman broke up Colin Kaepernick’s pass and Malcolm Smith got the interception. Now, both Sherman and Smith are wearing the other uniform. Prediction: W.

WEEK 16
Sunday, Dec. 23, vs. Chicago, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
These teams should know each other pretty well. It will be the fifth consecutive season in which the 49ers have played against the NFC North team. The teams have split the previous four meetings, as the 49ers evened the score last season with a 15-14 victory in Garoppolo’s first start with the 49ers. There is no threat of a snow storm or freezing rain in this locale. Prediction: W.

WEEK 17
Sunday, Dec. 30, at L.A. Rams, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
The 49ers have not lost to the Rams in Southern California since 1986. The stakes could be higher this season than we’ve seen in a long, long time as the 49ers could offer the defending NFC West champs their stiffest competition. This could be a huge game – or it could be like a year ago when the Rams rested every significant starter to get ready for the playoffs. Prediction: L.

Report: 49ers will play at Packers on Monday Night Football

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AP

Report: 49ers will play at Packers on Monday Night Football

We won't know the full 49ers 2018 schedule until 5pm, but we are starting to learn some specifics.

The 49ers will play at the Packers on Oct. 15, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky.

That will be in prime time on Monday Night Football.

We already know of another prime time game for the 49ers: Thursday, Nov. 1 at home against the Raiders.

San Francisco and Green Bay did not play in 2017 or 2016.

The last meeting between the franchises was on Oct. 4, 2015 -- a 17-3 Packers win at Levi's Stadium.

Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers opened the 2012 season with a 30-22 win at Lambeau Field.

The 49ers then beat the Packers 45-31 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

In 2013, the 49ers beat the Packers in the season opener, 34-28.

Four months later, San Francisco prevailed in a wild card game, 23-20.

Check back at 5pm as 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco will provide analysis and a prediction for every 2018 regular season game...