SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers completed contract negotiations with their final unsigned draft pick as the team was going through warm-ups for the first practice of training camp.
Former Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 3 overall pick, signed Friday and was expected to join his teammates later in the day.
The sides agreed to the mandatory four-year contract worth more than $28 million, including a signing bonus of approximately $18.6 million. The deal is expected to be fully guaranteed.
The 49ers also have an option for the fifth season (2021) that must be exercised months after the 2019 season.
Thomas was unable to participate in full-squad workouts during the offseason due to Stanford’s late class schedule. NFL rules prohibit a rookie from attending the offseason program until his school’s classes have concluded for the spring session.
The 49ers – and the vast majority of NFL teams – have not had a contract stalemate with a rookie since the new collective bargaining agreement went into effect in 2011.
The organization had similar timing with a first-round pick from last year. Guard Joshua Garnett, also from Stanford, signed with the 49ers on the evening before players were scheduled to report to training camp.
Around the NFL, there has been only one notable contract disagreement that prevented a draft pick from reporting to camp in a timely fashion. Defensive lineman Joey Bosa, whom the Chargers selected with the No. 3 pick last year, sat out a month of training camp due to a disagreement over how his bonus would be distributed. Bosa and Thomas are both represented by the agent firm of Creative Artists Agency.
SANTA CLARA – Safety Jimmie Ward was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list to open training camp with a hamstring injury, the 49ers announced Friday morning.
General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan stated on Thursday that all of their players were healthy and no players would be headed to PUP or the non-football injury list.
But that was before the 49ers were scheduled to have their conditioning test. Ward sustained the injury on Thursday during the team's conditioning test. The team lists him as "week to week."
He can be activated to begin practice at any time. Ward is also eligible to begin the regular season on the PUP list. Any player who opens the regular season on PUP is ineligible for the first six weeks of the season.
Ward is expected to be one of the key members of the 49ers' defense from the free safety position. His role is dubbed "The Eraser," fellow safety Eric Reid said, because of his role as a playmaker in the secondary. However, one of the major questions about Ward is his ability to remain healthy through the rigors of an NFL season.
Ward missed eight games as a rookie due to a foot injury. Last year, he sat out five games due to a shoulder injury.
SANTA CLARA – Carlos Hyde has been the 49ers' unchallenged starter since the organization allowed Frank Gore to leave in free agency after the 2014 season.
Finally, he has been challenged.
The 49ers drafted Joe Williams in the fourth round, signed veteran Tim Hightower and acquired Kapri Bibbs in a trade. Moreover, Hyde appears to be challenging himself, too.
“My goal is to be the No. 1 rushing running back in this league,” Hyde said. “I feel like I have the best opportunity to do that now with this new staff.”
General manager John Lynch said he has noticed Hyde “flipped a switch” in the offseason. Hyde remained in the Bay Area to use the 49ers’ facilities to work out and eat at the team’s cafeteria. At one point, he even asked coach Kyle Shanahan about being included on special teams.
Hyde reported to training camp Thursday at 228 pounds – the least he has weighed since his high-school days, he said. Hyde could be a good fit for Shanahan’s running scheme.
“It’s outside zone, which is downhill. I’m a downhill back. I feel like I fit the scheme very well,” said Hyde, who enters the final year of his contract.
Hyde had career-best totals of 988 yards and six touchdowns last season with a 4.6-yard average. Although the 49ers could use more a multi-pronged approach at running back, Hyde could be set up for a career year heading into free agency.
“I ran into him in the hall and he looks tremendous,” Lynch said. “He really has dedicated himself. He’s changed his body type this offseason and that to me at the least bit shows a commitment. There’s those stories, but we’re excited to see this whole thing as we take the next step.”