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49ers interested in nickel corner after Jimmie Ward departs for Texans [reports]

© Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The longest-tenured member of the San Francisco 49ers is no longer a member of the 49ers. After nine seasons with four head coaches, playing almost every position on defense beyond the defensive line, Jimmie Ward is heading elsewhere.

It perpetually felt like he’d be gone sooner than he would be, and like he was often under appreciated… even as he constantly told media how he was under appreciated.

But Ward stuck around until now. According to multiple reports, and with the details from Adam Caplan, Ward is following DeMeco Ryans to Houston on a two-year, $13 million deal.

It’s a nice deal for a player who was open about the fact that he didn’t want to play nickel. The 49ers went with the just-re-signed Tashaun Gipson Sr. and Talanoa Hufanga as their starting safeties last season, leaving Ward, after a hand injury and Gipson’s great start to the season, needing to play nickel to stay on the field.

In Houston, you can be sure that Ward will return to safety and be the veteran voice in the room for a young team.

Without him, the 49ers will need a new nickel corner. Samuel Womack fits the bill, and flashed some upside as a rookie, but it’s a position which could use some competition.

According to Josina Anderson, San Francisco has shown interest in former Jacksonville Jaguars corner Tre Herndon, who played mostly in the slot last season.

Herndon, 27, would not likely be a high-priced addition. The 49ers also have 11 draft picks in this year’s draft to add depth to the secondary.


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