DeMeco Ryans is back at it, again! The Houston Texans have just signed former San Francisco 49ers DB Jimmie Ward:
The #Texans are expected to sign former #49ers DB Jimmie Ward, sources say, giving new coach DeMeco Ryans a familiar face and leader in his defensive backfield.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2023
For a new coach, having a veteran with familiarity and ability to teach the system is so important. The #Texans get that with Jimmie Ward. https://t.co/XvO6WDsLMZ— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2023
Ward, 31, has spent his entire nine-year NFL career with San Francisco, being their starting SS for most of that span. He was a significant contributor every year after being taken in the first round by San Francisco in 2014, but his snap counts went up significantly in 2019. Under former coach Robert Saleh and then DeMeco Ryans, Ward had his best-rated coverage years in his final four, sitting at PFF grades over 69 in each.
His snaps went down significantly in 2022, becoming more of a gadget player as safeties Tashaun Gipson and Talanoa Hufanga took his place. Still, with over 600 snaps in 2022 and and a career-high in interceptions (3), Ward is clearly still a difference maker in the backfield. There’s no question that this is Nick Caserio’s biggest move in free agency thus far, and gives the defense some veteran juice it’s been truly missing since 2019.
What do you think of the Jimmie Ward signing? Is this Nick Caserio’s best signing yet, or just another mediocre starter? Let us know in the comments!