Proposed 49ers Trade Would Send 2023 Pro Bowler to Lions

The San Francisco 49ers have their sights set on a Lombardi Trophy, but one Pro Bowler is being linked to the Detroit Lions. San Francisco just got the better of Detroit in the NFC Championship, but the future of 49ers CB Charvarius Ward is uncertain.

San Francisco 49ers corner Charvarius Ward

After the 2024 Super Bowl, Ward will be entering the final year of his three-year deal with San Francisco. With that in mind, Bleacher Report’s staff has suggested that the Lions move for Ward to improve their secondary.

“Detroit’s biggest deficiencies reside on defense. The secondary is still a merely average unit, and the Lions could use a premier pass-rusher to complement Aidan Hutchinson,” the January 29 article reads. “In an ideal scenario, Detroit would pull a premier player away from another NFC contender. San Francisco 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward and Philadelphia Eagles pass-rusher Haason Reddick are both entering the final year of their contracts and would be tremendous additions to the Lions defense.”

Ward has had an exceptional year with San Francisco, but they will be tight on cap space going forward. Trading Ward could help significantly, should they feel confident about Deommodore Lenoir and the rest of the corners.

Ward Has Best NFL Season Yet

After five years of solid but not great seasons, Ward finally reached his potential in 2023. Playing in the 49ers defense certainly helped, but the former Middle Tennessee State standout clearly elevated his game.

The advanced stats at PFR show that he allowed an opposing QB rating of just 64.5. He led the NFL in passes defended with 23, forced a fumble and brought down five interceptions.

Ward stepped up in a major way after a very average 2022 debut in San Francisco. That year, Ward earned just one interception and swatted 11 passes.

The only concern is that Ward has been a bit of a non-factor in the playoffs. Over 5 appearances in the past two years, Ward has zero interceptions and four PDs. It’s not terrible by any means. But considering he’s going to want another big deal as a 27-year-old, this upcoming offseason may be the time for the 49ers to move on.

What 49ers Can Get in Trade

Spotrac projects Ward to be due for a $15.1 million a year contract after 2024. That’s reasonable, but the 49ers still have to pay names like QB Brock Purdy, WR Brandon Aiyuk and S Talanoa Hufanga. Not everyone can get paid, and Ward could be the odd man out.

Plus, the opportunity to get something for him can only happen in March. The league year opens on March 13, and $8.56 million of Ward’s $12.56 million salary in 2024 guarantees on April 1. If San Francisco wants to move him, they’ll have to move fast.

The Lions make sense as a prospective partner. They have available cap space and need a corner. It’s not clear what kind of offering Detroit would be willing to make, but a first-round pick isn’t out of the question.

Even a second-round or third-round pick could be enough, provided there’s additional picks on the backend. A trade at this point isn’t about “getting rid” of Ward, but just maximizing his value while San Francisco has the chance.

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