Is Jimmie Ward a safety who could be on the radar for the Chicago Bears in free agency?
Jimmie Ward is the classic story of a former first-round thriving on his fifth-year option. Injuries, coaching and GM changes, and shifting around the defensive secondary were a combination of issues for Ward through four years.
However, a strong fifth season led the 49ers defense to the Super Bowl. Now, he is a free agent. Should the Chicago Bears bet on his talent, or should they be cautious of his breakout?
While Clinton-Dix had more interceptions than Ward, Ward had eight pass breakups. Adding in his interceptions, Clinton-Dix only had four. On top of that, Ward allowed 64 yards after the catch, to 94 from Clinton-Dix. Ward moved around from the slot to outside cornerback to strong and free safety.
His versatility, combined with Eddie Jackson, could give offenses nightmares pre-snap.
In his best season, he played a lot of deep safety. While he is versatile, it can be argued that he would have to play a similar role to Clinton-Dix did last season. The role Clinton-Dix had last season gave Jackson less free reign. The two could play well together, but it is a fine line to walk before both are starting to play out of position.
On top of that, he is coming off of the Super Bowl, and his best year at that. He has an excellent chance to break the bank. Still, there are four years of severe questions and arguments of whether or not Ward was a bust. It is one thing to add Ward to a deal similar to Clinton-Dix. However, to pay him serious money to compliment Jackson is a risk that is not worth the investment.