2. Denzel Ward – Cornerback
Not many people would argue that the two most important positions in the NFL right now are quarterback and defensive end. Not far behind that in my opinion, is cornerback. The Cleveland Browns currently have one of the best in Denzel Ward, who will be due a nice payday as well in the next 12 months.
Signing Teller tomorrow would likely be the best option for the Browns, but I think Berry will wait until the next offseason before giving Ward the big deal. For one, he is reasonably happy with his deal because he was such a high draft pick, and with the fifth-year option, the Browns have him until the end of 2022.
On top of that, injuries have been a concern. Not only injuries but concussions, which have ended too many guys’ careers early in recent history. Ward missed three games as a rookie, and four games each of the last two years. If he would happen to miss another three or four games in 2021, don’t expect his offer will be nearly as strong. He will also see his open market value tank.
The risk of this move, if he plays all 16 games and plays like we all know he can, the price tag will only go up. The Browns can’t afford to pay $18-20 million a year for Ward, but if they could get him on a three or four-year deal at $14-16 million, look for Berry to lock him up.
Once again, Berry is getting a good market value now, and letting guys walk right at the edge of their prime. Letting a guy go a year early is much better than letting go of them a year late. Unless you are Tom Brady.