The NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers fell just one game short of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, which can curse a franchise for the next few seasons. To combat falling into this trap and not regress, the Niners continue to look forward and try improving their team for the long run.
One of the most recent ways they have done this is by giving free safety Jimmie Ward a three-year contract extension worth $28.5 million. Which could turn out to be a steal for San Francisco.
Turning 29 this summer, Ward has spent all six of his NFL seasons with the 49ers. He has battled injuries throughout his career, playing all 16 games just once. However, he was able to start 13 games on the talented Niners defense last season, which was the most games he has ever started in a season.
Locking Ward down to ensure he did not become a free agent was smart, but the way the contract is set up is even better. In 2020, Ward is owed just over $4.5 million. Following this next season, players like Richard Sherman will be up for new contracts, so there will be more money freed up.
In 2021, Ward's salary bumps up and he is owed just north of $11.5 million. He is owed slightly more than that during the final season of his extension, at $12.2 million. However, there is a potential out built into the contract, and the Niners would have only $2.6 million of cap penalty if they cut that big salary.
Not only were the Niners able to lock down a player that helped make their defense great last season, they did it on a team-friendly, forward-thinking deal that ensures they won't get trapped into a bad contract situation down the road.
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