The San Francisco 49ers came to an agreement with Jimmie Ward on a three-year deal on March 16. Eight days later, the team finally announced the move with general manager John Lynch praising the safety's abilities.

"Jimmie has proven to possess many of the characteristics we are looking for in a 49er, and we are excited to keep him in red and gold," Lynch said via a statement issued by the team. "His no-nonsense passion for the game amplifies his special physical abilities, while also setting a tone for our defense."

Ward's deal to stay in the Bay Area is worth $28.5 million, with much of the salary-cap hit coming in the final two years of the contract. That puts the average annual salary at $9.5 million, which is reportedly less than Ward could have received from another team.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports that another team offered Ward $10 million per year, but the safety accepted the 49ers' offer out of familiarity. That matches up with what Ward told reporters after the season.

"This is a team I would like to play for," Ward told reporters. "They drafted me. I got injured a couple of years (four), and they still gave me an opportunity to show what I could do."

Fowler doesn't explicitly state who the other team was but does write that the Las Vegas Raiders were believed to be interested.

Ward went on to say that his 49ers coaches gave him the impression they wanted him to stay. Ward said he didn't want to adjust to a new team, find a new place to live, or adapt to new teammates.

"Hopefully, they've got the upper hand right now because I do want to be in California," Ward added.

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