49ers' John Lynch lauds Jimmie Ward with contract extension official

49ers' John Lynch lauds Jimmie Ward with contract extension official

Safety Jimmie Ward remains with the 49ers because he embodies what the organization is looking for in its players, general manager John Lynch said on Tuesday.

The 49ers announced a three-year contract with Ward after he agreed to the deal last week that is set to pay him $28.5 million.

"Jimmie has proven to possess many of the characteristics we are looking for in a 49er, and we are excited to keep him in red and gold," Lynch said in a statement released through the team.

“His no-nonsense passion for the game amplifies his special physical abilities, while also setting a tone for our defense. This extension allows Jimmie to continue to grow in our defense and we look forward to seeing where he can take his game."

Ward signed a one-year contract with the 49ers last year as an unrestricted free agent. He proved himself in 2019 after missing the first three games of the season following surgery to repair a fractured finger.

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Ward started 16 consecutive games, including the postseason, and hit the free-agent market again last week.

The 49ers on Tuesday announced the signing of former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Joe Walker on a one-year contract. Tight end Ross Dwelley also signed his one-year contract as an exclusive rights free agent.

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

The NFL Draft demonstrates to fans just how bold each of its team’s general managers can be.

Those willing to take a risk and try to move up in the first round sacrifice significant draft capital in exchange for a chance at a home run.

The 49ers happen to be one of those select few teams possessing multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft, giving GM John Lynch an opportunity to make a big splash.

One potential way Lynch could extend San Francisco’s championship window is by fortifying the secondary with Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, writes Bleacher Report’s Marcus Mosher.

In this trade, the 49ers make the bold jump up to secure the former Ohio State Buckeye. But with the 49ers lacking in trade capital this year, they could send picks No. 13, No. 31 and another 2021 third-round selection. 

The 49ers have a win-now roster and could use a stud cover man to pair with Richard Sherman. Okudah is one of the best players in the draft and would give the team another versatile corner who could be used in both man and zone coverage. 

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Okudah is the consensus top defensive back in this year’s draft, combining the length to disrupt the passing game with top-line speed, putting up a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Niners came up just short of hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February, despite holding dynamic gunslinger Patrick Mahomes to just 286 yards passing and his lowest postseason quarterback rating of his career.

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Okudah could provide an immediate impact in the secondary on the other side of Richard Sherman, but should the team sacrifice both of its first-round draft picks to fortify a position that is lower on the list of needs for Lynch’s roster?

Many fans likely would rather see the team grab one of this year's seemingly endless crop of talented wide receivers at No. 13 and then waiting and nabbing a cornerback later like TCU product Jeff Gladney at No. 31 overall.

We’ll find out just how bold this 49ers' front office wants to be in exactly two week’s time. 

What 49ers' Mike McGlinchey said about Joe Staley's future in NFL

What 49ers' Mike McGlinchey said about Joe Staley's future in NFL

From the moment the 49ers selected Mike McGlinchey with the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Notre Dame product formed instant chemistry with fellow offensive tackle Joe Staley. A true bromance quickly was created. 

The two have manned the outside of the 49ers' offensive line that past two seasons, with Staley on the left and McGlinchey on the right. But there's a real chance Staley hangs up his cleats this offseason instead of returning for his 14th year in the Bay Area, being signed through the 2021 season. 

When asked about Staley's future Wednesday on KNBR's "Papa & Lund Show," McGlinchey wouldn't speak on his friend's behalf

"I'm not going to speak on Joe's decision-making. That's for him to do," McGlinchey said. "I don't know what his thought process is, but it's up to him. I know from a guy-who-watches-him standpoint, I know he can still play. I know he still has that ability. When he was healthy last year, like I said, he's still one of the best in the world at what does.

"Either way, I think he's deserved both. He's deserved a right to come back to this team and play football, but he's also earned the right to hang it up if he wants to. I don't know what his decision-making is there, and I'm certainly not going to speak to that.

"Obviously, as a teammate, and as a member of the 49ers, I know Joe is as vital to our success as anybody."

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Staley, who turns 36 years old in August, was held to only seven regular-season games last year due to injuries. It was the first time he had missed a large chunk of a season since 2010 when he played in nine games. 

NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco recently said to Greg Papa and Laura Britt there's a 50/50 chance Staley returns to the 49ers this upcoming season. Maiocco noted that Staley had been visiting the 49ers' training facility every day since their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. 

But facilities now are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that could hamper Staley returning to full health. 

"This season took a toll on a lot of people, and he's a veteran," Maiocco said. "He battled some health issues. I don't know (if he will continue playing)."

Whether Staley returns next season or not, the 49ers could address their offensive line in the 2020 NFL Draft. A versatile player like Michigan's Cesar Ruiz could make sense at No. 31 overall or if San Francisco trades back. 

No matter what Staley chooses to do, McGlinchey believes his friend's future is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Staley also recently was one of four 49ers to be named to the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team.

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"That's a huge deal to be one of four guys to be mentioned in a 10-year span of being the best in the world at what they do," McGlinchey said. "That's a pretty impressive thing. The stats and the stuff [speak] for itself, and I think Joe is under-appreciated during his time as a Niner, believe it or not. He's been to six Pro Bowls, and stuff like that, but he probably should have made more.

"And he's had so much more of an impact, and what he's put on film, I think, than most everybody else out there. I mean, there's a couple of guys that are on the same level as him, but I can't really put anybody that's better. And over his 13 years that he's been in the league, he's been the standard.

"I think when you are somebody that every other offensive lineman looks to, to implement things into their game, and you've been at the top for so, so long, I think it's a given to be in the Hall of Fame."