On the first day of the NFL’s open negotiating period, the 49ers countered the losses of guard Laken Tomlinson and defensive tackle D.J. Jones with a contract agreement with one of the top players at their biggest position of need.
The 49ers struck a deal with former Kansas City cornerback Charvarius Ward, according to Universal Sports Management, the agency that represents Ward. The contract is worth up to $42 million over three years, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
Ward, who turns 26 on May 16, is slotted to be the 49ers’ top cornerback. Emmanuel Moseley and Ambry Thomas finished last season as the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks. Both players remain under contract to the team, and are likely to compete for the starting job on the other side.
Ward appeared in 56 games with 43 starts in his first four seasons in the NFL. He originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2018 from Middle Tennessee State. He originally signed with the Dallas Cowboys and was traded to Kansas City just prior to the start of his rookie season.
He was the starting left cornerback for the Chiefs in their 31-20 victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
Ward was rated as the No. 39 available free agent, according to Pro Football Focus. Listed at 6-foot-1, 198 pounds, Ward has the size and speed to excel in man coverage.
He played 13 games last season with 12 starts and registered two interceptions with 10 passes defensed. He has four career interceptions.
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Earlier in the day, the 49ers’ top two free agents reached contract agreements to leave the team. Tomlinson reached contract terms with the New York Jets, while Jones is heading to the Denver Broncos.
The 49ers are expected to execute contract restructures with some of their top-paid players to get under the salary cap and account for Ward's contract.