Was Charvarius Ward signing 49ers best offseason move?

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The 49ers, despite making headlines for the wrong reasons and handful of times, had a relatively slow offseason on the personnel front. They did add former Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward in free agency, which was their highest-profile deal. That acquisition was listed by Pro Football Focus as their best offseason move. While that may be the case in early July, there’s a move they didn’t make which might prove to be their best.

Among the moves listed by PFF are some non-deals by teams, and San Francisco’s willingness to not trade wide receiver Deebo Samuel to the Jets for the No. 10 pick in the draft may eventually prove to be their best choice of the 2023 offseason. As of early July though, Samuel remains unsigned to a long-term contract and his trade request is still on the table.

Should Samuel return on a long-term contract and continue the trajectory he set for himself last year as one of the NFL’s most unique, impactful offensive weapons, holding onto him will prove to be an excellent decision.

Until there’s a conclusion to the Samuel tumult, it’s undeniable that Ward is the correct choice as the best offseason move for the 49ers. Via PFF’s Brad Spielberger:

Nevertheless, the 49ers were able to make a big addition to their secondary this offseason after a 2021 campaign filled with injuries on the back-end. San Francisco’s outside cornerback unit earned a 53.0 grade in 2021, good for 30th in the NFL. Their best outside cornerback, Jason Verrett, will return at some point during the 2022 season, but he’s unfortunately recovering from yet another major injury after playing in just one game in 2021. In the meantime, Ward is coming off three straight seasons earning a grade of 64.8 or better and will now play behind a far superior pass-rush unit that should make his life much easier.

San Francisco badly needed to invest in their CB room and the Ward addition gives them a high-quality starter on the outside while also improving their depth at a position that wrecked them last year.

The argument can be made that the 49ers’ additions of linebacker Oren Burks and safety George Odum to help their struggling special teams units addressed more glaring needs, but special teams coverage pales in comparison to the team’s issues at corner.

Ward alongside Emmanuel Moseley will give San Francisco a legitimate starting CB duo. Ambry Thomas finished last year strong and should at worst provide quality depth this year. As long as the 49ers figure out what their doing at the nickel CB spot, they should be a lot better in the secondary thanks to the Ward signing.

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