The San Francisco 49ers have had a few revelations this season, and one (or two) of them have been Adrian Colbert and Jaquiski Tartt. Prior to a season-ending injury, Tartt was showing huge strides as a replacement for injured Jimmie Ward. After Tartt went down, Colbert moved into the starting lineup, and has been making play after play after play in that center field free safety role.
It would appear Jimmie Ward is taking note of the praise. Monday morning, Ward tweeted the comment above, and retweeted a host of tweets from the past three years praising given plays and showing highlights of his work.
The 49ers have some significant decisions to make in the secondary this coming offseason. Eric Reid is due to hit free agency as his rookie deal comes to a close, and Jimmie Ward will be entering the 5th year option on his contract. He is due $8,526,000 on the option, and the 49ers have until the start of the new league year to release him without taking a cap hit. The option is guaranteed for injury, but if he can pass a physical this offseason, they could choose to release him without a financial hit.
I don’t actually anticipate them releasing him. Money is not a concern given their cap space and the fact that he is on the final year of his contract. Injuries were an issue at safety, and while they were mostly freakish broken bones, this year’s team showed how important depth is.
Ward will be on the roster next season, barring a trade, but the question is how the 49ers will situate him and the other safeties. Some folks have said they should move him back to cornerback, and start Adrian Colbert and Jaquiski Tartt at the two safety positions. The other notable option is starting Ward and Tartt, and having Colbert serve as the fifth defensive back on the field. That could turn into more of their base defense than 4-3.
There are decisions to make, but I’d rather the team have too many options than not enough. You can never have enough talent on the roster, and this will only give them more flexibility heading into 2018.