© Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
There were three key expiring free agents on the 49ers’ docket this offseason: Emmanuel Sanders, Jimmie Ward and Arik Armstead. DeForest Buckner was the casualty and trade-off to re-sign Armstead and Ward was the choice over Sanders.
Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the 49ers kept Ward over a more lucrative offer, with the Las Vegas Raiders reported to also be interested. There’s also a bit about the Tom Brady-to-the-49ers rumors:
“The 49ers focused mostly on bottom-tier free agents for two reasons: They have a Super Bowl roster, and two of the high-end players were ones they wanted to keep.
Their plan was all about sustaining excellence, and it worked out about as well as expected. Defensive end Arik Armstead’s five-year deal cost $48.5 million in guarantees, but the team got a slight discount on safety Jimmie Ward, who had a $10 million per year offer from another team — Las Vegas was believed to be interested in him — yet signed with San Francisco for $9.5 million annually out of familiarity.
As for those Tom Brady rumors, one team source said: “I don’t know why that was a thing.”