49ers

NFL rumors: Jimmie Ward turned down larger offer to remain with 49ers

NFL rumors: Jimmie Ward turned down larger offer to remain with 49ers

The 49ers made the re-signing of safety Jimmie Ward official Tuesday. A day later, it was revealed that he reportedly turned down a larger offer in free agency in order to stay with the only NFL franchise he has ever been a part of.

In breaking down the opening wave of free agency and its effect on each of the 32 NFL teams Wednesday, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that Ward took a small discount in order to remain with San Francisco.

"Their plan was all about sustaining excellence, and it worked out about as well as expected," Fowler wrote of the 49ers. "Defensive end Arik Armstead's five-year deal cost $48.5 million in guarantees, but the team got a slight discount on safety Jimmie Ward, who had a $10 million per year offer from another team -- Las Vegas was believed to be interested in him -- yet signed with San Francisco for $9.5 million annually out of familiarity."

While Fowler stopped short of definitively naming the Raiders as the team that offered Ward $10 million per season, the suggestion isn't all that shocking. They've overhauled their defense in free agency, and safety was known to be a need for Las Vegas. The day after news broke that Ward and the 49ers had agreed to a three-year contract extension, the Raiders agreed to a two-year contract with safety Jeff Heath, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Given that the 49ers and Raiders played in the same market until extremely recently, it stands to reason that Jon Gruden and Co. would be very familiar with Ward, who has been with San Francisco ever since being selected with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

While the discount Ward reportedly took is only a $500,000 difference, every little bit helps the 49ers, particularly with a record-breaking extension for tight end George Kittle still hanging over their heads.

NFL rumors: Rams trading Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round draft pick

NFL rumors: Rams trading Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round draft pick

The Los Angeles Rams' rebuild continues.

After releasing former All-Pros Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews during free agency, the Rams continued their roster overhaul by reportedly agreeing to send wideout Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans in exchange for several draft picks, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday, citing a source.

LA has been dealing with salary cap issues, trying to find money to pay franchise quarterback Jared Goff, all-world defensive lineman Aaron Donald, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and the other 49 players needed to fill out an NFL roster.

The team still ends up taking a dead cap hit on Cooks in 2020, but at least removes the remaining four years of his deal from the books.

With the departure of offensive weapons Gurley and Cooks along with Matthews’ defensive presence, it will be a very different LA attack the next time the team takes on the 49ers.

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After four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Cooks struggled through injuries and inconsistency on his way to just 583 receiving yards in 14 games during the 2019 season.

ProFootballTalk reported Thursday that the team already took a financial hit by holding onto Cooks this far into his contract.

With the 49ers aiming to defend their title as NFC champions, the Seattle Seahawks remaining strong and the Arizona Cardinals fleecing Bill O’Brien and those head-scratching Texans for DeAndre Hopkins earlier this spring, there’s a clear new team at the bottom of the NFC West.

If we end up getting an NFL season in 2020, expect the division’s doormat to be in Tinseltown.

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 their 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 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 the 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 rather would 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.