Lynch: 49ers expected to pick up Ward's fifth-year option

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Lynch: 49ers expected to pick up Ward's fifth-year option

The 49ers plan to pick up the fifth-year option on defensive back Jimmie Ward for the 2018 season, general manager John Lynch said Saturday.

The league-wide deadline for picking up the option is Wednesday. After the 49ers did not draft a free safety within the first two days of the draft, it became apparent Ward fits into the team’s plan for at least the next two seasons. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he was excited after watching Ward during the team's minicamp this week.

The fifth-year option, a product of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, enables teams to control the rights of first-round draft picks for one season beyond the mandatory four-year contract. The salary for safeties drafted outside the top 10 is $5.957 million.

The salary is guaranteed for injury only. The team can void the deal until the first day of the 2018 league year.

Ward, whom the 49ers selected with the 30th overall pick of the 2014 draft, was the team’s top nickel back in his first two seasons, appearing in 24 games. Last year, Ward moved to cornerback, where he started 11 games before landing on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

With the 49ers’ conversion to a defense based on the Seattle Seahawks’ scheme, Ward is being moved to free safety. He is expected to fill a role based on what Earl Thomas plays with the Seahawks.

Here are the 49ers’ decisions since the inception of the fifth-year option rule:

--The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option on Aldon Smith before restructuring the contract. The 49ers eventually released Smith before the start of his fifth season due to multiple off-field incidents.

--Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs before his second NFL season.

--The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option on safety Eric Reid for this season. He is scheduled to earn $5.676 this season.

49ers select CB Adrian Colbert in seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select CB Adrian Colbert in seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft

ADRIAN COLBERT
Position: Defensive back
College: Miami
Height: 6-0
Weight: 200
Selection: Seventh round, No. 229 overall

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected Miami defensive back Adrian Colbert with the team’s final pick of the draft.

General manager John Lynch wrapped up his first draft with the selection of Colbert with the No. 229 overall selection. Colbert has the ability to play cornerback or free safety with the 49ers. He could make the team as a core special-teams performer.

Colbert played his first three college seasons at Texas before transferring to Miami, where he saw action in eight games with two starts. As a senior, he recorded 22 tackles and one interception.

49ers select DE Pita Taumoepenu in sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select DE Pita Taumoepenu in sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft

PITA TAUMOEPENU
Position: Defensive line
College: Utah
Height: 6-1 1/4
Weight: 243
Selection: Sixth round, No. 202 overall

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected Utah pass-rusher Pita Taumoepenu in the sixth round with the No. 202 overall pick.

Taumoepenu recorded nine sacks last season and figures to line up at the 49ers’ “Leo” position in their new 4-3 scheme under first-year coordinator Robert Saleh.

“I have a great ability to get after the quarterback,” he said. “That’s what I do. I have a lot of passion for it.”

Taumoepenu (pronounced tao-mo-eh-pen-new) was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection. In addition to tying for fourth in the conference in sacks, he tied for third in the Pac-12 with three forced fumbles.

In the Foster Farms Bowl against Indiana at Levi's Stadium, Taumoepenu recorded six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.

Taumoepenu took pre-draft visits to the Pittsburgh Steelers and had workouts with the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, he said.