4. Jimmie Ward, 49ers, SF
If Anthony Ward proves to be to expensive, Kevin Stefanski should have new defensive coordinator Joe Woods give Jimmie Ward a call.
Woods, who comes to Cleveland after having worked as the 49ers defensive secondary coach, was on staff when Ward had a career year at safety en route to the 49ers’ Super Bowl berth.
Ward became a playmaker for Woods and San Francisco this past season. He ranked eighth among safeties with a grade of 84.2 He spent 71 percent of his snaps at free safety and broke up eight passes while missing just three tackles.
Plus, he’s versatile. Ward’s pretty much played everywhere around the 49ers’ secondary after being a first-round pick back in 2014.
It wasn’t until he moved to free safety for Woods and Robert Saleh, that he became a playmaker, though.
As mentioned, he’d be a lot cheaper to sign, as PFF forecasted a two-year, $8 million ($6 million guaranteed) deal for veteran.
With the Browns failing to secure a future free safety in waiting in the 2019 draft, this is a position of need, especially with Damarious Randall set to walk in free agency. Dorsey picked up Sheldrick Redwine late in the draft last season, but he looks better suited for strong safety.
Considering the Browns needs at tackle and tight end, it’s unlikely they’ll find an impact starter at the position later in the draft.