Texans to give DB Jimmie Ward a two-year, $13 million deal. Grade: A+
New Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans worked with former 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward when Ryans was San Francisco’s defensive coordinator in 2021 and 2022, and it’s a sign of Ward’s on-field play and football acumen that Ryans would want Ward with his new team to help establish the culture he wants. If you talk to defensive backs around the league, especially those who have played with Ward, the amount of respect he generates is impressive.
So, with a two-year, $13 million deal, Ryans and Ward are reunited. Ward can play both outside and in the slot, so he’ll be a fine replacement for the underrated Tavierre Thomas should bail in free agency. Last season, Ward allowed 69 catches on 85 targets for 534 yards, 320 yards after the catch, four touchdowns, three interceptions, three pass breakups, and an opponent passer rating of 93.8.
More than the stats, though, is Ward’s value to Houston as the guy who can take Ryans’ entire defensive playbook to the field, and help everybody else get the hang of it sooner than later.
The thing about Jimmie Ward is that he knows where he's going on the field better than you do, and he might know where you're gong on the field better than you do. Great low-cost signing for the Texans' secondary. Ward and DeMeco Ryans back together. pic.twitter.com/G4RlVq41UL
— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) March 14, 2023