San Francisco 49ers Sign CB Charvarius Ward

San Francisco 49ers CB Charvarius Ward
San Francisco 49ers CB Charvarius Ward
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - Before free agency began, we identified cornerback as San Francisco's biggest need. It appears the 49ers agreed, because their first big move in free agency was to add a cornerback who once beat them in the Super Bowl.

Charvarius Ward went undrafted out of Middle Tennessee State in 2018, but found a spot on Kansas City's roster as a rookie, even starting a pair of games. He has been a mainstay for the Chiefs ever since, starting at least 13 games in each of the past three seasons. And though Kansas City has hardly been a dominant defense in that timeframe, Ward has consistently posted quality coverage stats, ranking in the upper half of qualifying cornerbacks in both success rate and yards allowed per target every year. Josh Norman and K'Waun Williams, the two corners whom Ward will replace in San Francisco, each failed to make the top 70 in either category last year. With that kind of difference, it's easy to see why San Francisco gave Ward $42 million ($26.7 million guaranteed) over three years.

San Francisco is likely not done shopping for corners. In his look at the top defensive free agents, Bryan Knowles wrote that Ward was one of the top man-to-man corners on the market, but added that "if Ward's your best cornerback, you're in trouble." It's debatable whether Ward or Emmanuel Moseley (top-25 in both success rate and yards allowed per target in 2021) is the top corner currently on San Francisco's roster, but more corners always help. Stephon Gilmore failed to find a home on Day 1 of the legal tampering period, and it would take a pretty penny to sign him, but San Francisco can clear a whoooooole lot of cap space by trading away last year's quarterback.

Charvarius Ward Overall Impact: The 49ers were three points away from playing in the Super Bowl last year, so even a marginal upgrade could result in a championship, and Ward is more than a marginal upgrade. As we have said many times in the past few months, the 49ers were next to last in DVOA on throws to No. 1 receivers, and also next to last in DVOA on deep passes to receivers 16 yards or more downfield. When you start at the bottom, there's only one way to go, and Ward should help the defense move in the right direction.

Charvarius Ward Fantasy Impact: Practically zero. Ward has only four interceptions and one sack in his careeer. He's a good coverage player, but don't count on him to make the kind of plays that will win you your IDP league.


10 comments, Last at 21 Mar 2022, 7:08pm

2 So, at $14m APY

That's about $1m per DPI.


(I like Ward, but it'll be interesting to see how often he gets flagged in SF compared to the laundry day it was in KC)

4 It's funny, because 49ers…

In reply to by OmahaChiefs13

It's funny, because 49ers fans are celebrating how little Ward gets flagged, because they're just looking at the three accepted penalties from 2021, not the eight or nine from 2019-2020.

6 And at least anecdotally

My impression is that many of the DPI and holding calls on other Chiefs defenders in 2021 had Ward as their root cause anyway.

My homer suspicion over the last couple of years is that KC's secondary has a reputation among officials for being grabby...they get watched more closely and given less benefit of the doubt compared to some other squads.

If that's the case, the unfortunate fact is that reputation is probably deserved, and if so, Ward has absolutely been a primary cause of it over the years.

3 Really?

“When you start at the bottom, there's only one way to go,”

Have you looked at the NY football teams over the past decade?

9 The argument cant be that he…

The argument cant be that he would have a 3 pt difference in one game, but not in other games. 

If this game was randomly chosen for him to be the difference maker, then why not any other matchup where the difference was 3 points?