It was a quiet offseason for the 49ers when it comes to additions. The prized free agent was Charvarius Ward, who was mostly known as the player who did Ja’Marr Chase’s touchdown dance, only to give up a deep pass to Chase a few plays later.
Ward, who just turned 26, has two seasons under his belt where he allowed under a 45% completion percentage. Not a lot of cornerbacks can say that. And it’s not as if Ward isn’t targeted often. In each of those seasons, Ward was targeted 80 and 67 times. Furthermore, he’s the cornerback the Chiefs used to shadow opposing No. 1 receivers.
NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund listed some under-appreciated players in the NFL, and Ward was on the list:
APY: $13.5 million (14th among cornerbacks).
San Francisco’s free agent pickup boasts an NFL-best 46.9 completion percentage allowed in coverage since 2019, per NGS (min. 150 targets). He also had only one penalty called against him last season with Kansas City. Not surprising then that the Niners, who ranked 29th in completion percentage allowed (68.2) and whose DBs were the most penalized in the league last season, pursued the 26-year-old this offseason.
Inking Ward to a deal as he enters his prime should look good for the 49ers a couple of years from now. They’re paying him not only for what Ward has done but where they think he’ll be.
To be fair, Josh Norman made up for most (if you said all, I wouldn’t argue) of those penalties last season. Norman was brutal and a big reason why DeMeco Ryans was handcuffed when it came to deploying different coverages. And in Norman’s defense, he’s at the tail end of his career and shouldn’t have been playing heavy snaps.
Anyway, Ward helps the pecking order. Emmanuel Moseley goes from guarding Odell Beckham and DeAndre Hopkins to Van Jefferson and Rondale Moore. Everyone gets better, and Ward is rewarded with arguably the best pass rush in the NFL.