Shanahan: 49ers undecided whether Ward is a safety or corner

Shanahan: 49ers undecided whether Ward is a safety or corner

INDIANAPOLIS – Jimmie Ward made the transition from reserve safety to starting cornerback last season.

Where he lines up for the 49ers in 2017 has yet to be determined, coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday.

“I’m not sure, yet,” Shanahan said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “That’s something that’ll be discussed because I know that he’s capable of doing both. When we know our whole roster and our options in the draft, free agency, what’s he going to be best for us. But when you have a guy who’s capable of playing both, it gives you some freedom, which is nice.

“Any time you have a guy versatile like him, as a coach, it gives you more options. You just have to make sure whatever options you choose, you’re doing best by him and best by the team, also.”

Ward started eight games in his first two NFL seasons as the team's nickel back after being a first-round draft pick in 2014. Last offseason, the 49ers moved him to cornerback, where he started 10 games. Ward missed three games with a quadriceps injury and was placed on injured reserve late in the season due to a shoulder injury.

He could serve as a key piece in the 49ers’ new scheme under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“When you play a lot of cover 3, you do want that guy in the middle of the field to be very good player,” Shanahan said.

“When we look at overall roster and how it looks after free agency and the draft, and get Jimmie in and talk to him, that’ll help us make our decision.”

Shanahan said general manager John Lynch will also be involved in the decision. Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl performer as a safety with Tampa Bay and Denver. He was a Hall of Fame finalist.

“I’d love to hear John’s opinion, and that’ll be something we’re all talking about,” Shanahan said.

Agent: 49ers to re-sign running back DuJuan Harris

Agent: 49ers to re-sign running back DuJuan Harris

PHOENIX – Free-agent running back DuJuan Harris will re-sign with the 49ers, his agent said.

Harris, 28, appeared in 10 games for the 49ers last season with one start. He rushed for 138 yards on 38 attempts. He also caught eight passes for 115 yards.

Harris has also seen time with Jacksonville, Green Bay and Seattle in his four-year NFL career.

The 49ers did not tender Harris as a restricted free agent, but agent Andy Simms revealed his client will re-sign with the 49ers via Twitter. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and defensive lineman Chris Jones are the only other free agents the 49ers have re-signed.

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

PHOENIX – Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will continue to be Washington’s quarterback for the 2017 season, according to team president Bruce Allen.

“That’s why we franchised him, yes,” Allen said during an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic at the NFL owners meetings.

Cousins and Washington did not reach agreement on a multi-year contract extension before the start of the free-agent signing period. Washington tagged Cousins as the organization’s exclusive franchise player, taking him off the free-agent market for any interested clubs, such as the 49ers.

Cousins is set to earn $23.94 million in 2017, unless the sides agree to a new deal before the July 15 deadline. The price for Cousins to be franchised again in 2018 would be $34.47 million.

"We’ve had a lot of dialogue," Allen said. "He signed his tender. Obviously, we have an option for the ’18 season. Our goal from the beginning has been long term. I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The 49ers with new coach Kyle Shanahan are expected to be interested in Cousins, but there have no trade talks with any teams, Allen said. Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator under his father, then-head coach Mike Shanahan, for Cousins' first two NFL seasons.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."