Locking up the Warden: Browns go big on Denzel Ward extension
By Greg Newland
After sitting idle for a few weeks, the Cleveland Browns made another big splash by extending Denzel Ward for five years and over $100 million.
After a few weeks of being quiet, Andrew Berry and the Cleveland Browns are once again active participants in the free agency market.
After signing Deshaun Watson to a massive extension a few weeks ago, the Browns have now agreed to a five-year deal with pro-bowl cornerback, Denzel Ward.
It comes as no surprise that the $100.5 million extension makes him eth highest-paid corner in NFL history, but that likely won’t last for long.
With Ward only 24 years of age, he appears to be in Cleveland for the vast majority of his career after this deal.
On one side, I argue that the Browns saved some money by signing him now. Had he performed well in 2022 and played through his fifth-year option and others at the position got extended, it easily could have cost the Browns another $15-20 million to sign him next offseason.
On the other side, the Browns are going to have a chunk of money tied up between Watson, Ward, and Myles Garrett for a long time. The salary cap is something that can often be manipulated, but there is no doubt that a deal like this could hinder future moves.
What does Denzel Ward give the Cleveland Browns?
What are the Browns getting in return for a deal that has guaranteed money of $71.25 million? They are getting a pro-bowl borderline All-Pro coverage talent — when he is available.
Throughout college and the NFL, Ward hasn’t struggled with production, but he has struggled with being available to play.
I could sit here and argue that he struggles with tackling which is true, but at the end of the day he has proven to be fantastic in coverage which is what his ultimate job title is.
There is certainly some risk to this signing, but for the most part, I’m happy to see the deal done. If Cleveland didn’t pay him this money, someone else would have.