The Cleveland Browns began this week with a bang as they resigned their star cornerback Denzel Ward to a five-year and $100.5 million contract making him the richest cornerback in NFL history. Not a bad day for the local kid from Cleveland and former Ohio State Buckeye. The Browns are certainly not concerned about money these days. The $71 million guaranteed to Ward comes on the heels of guaranteeing all $230 million given to their new quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The Browns now have a nucleus of players tied to the team for the next several years. Ward was thrilled with the new deal and what 24 year old wouldn’t with such a lucrative deal. Here’s what he had to say via social media:
Loss of words, I’m blessed.I want to thank the Haslams, JW Johnson, Andrew Berry, coach Stefanski and the rest of the browns organization for continuing to to believe in the home grown kid and allowing me to represent this organization and city of Cleveland where I’m from @Browns
— Denzel Ward (@denzelward) April 18, 2022
There had been speculation for a while on what the Browns were planning to do with Ward because he was entering the last year of his original contract and the team hadn’t re-signed him yet. This is a big relief for the team and many of its fans.
The one concern for Ward, from my perspective though, is his durability. Ward has a history of injuries and concussions. While this is a good signing and one the Browns made for the potential greatness that Ward can provide as he’s still only 24 years old, I just caution the rest of Browns nation to take a step back and not get too over the top excited about this move because of that legitimate problem that Ward has year after year. While he certainly is one of the best cornerbacks, that lack of durability is the most concerning. He’s an outstanding defender and I believe, if healthy that the team is better off with him on the team. We’ll see how everything works out. The Browns trust him and thus gave him this mammoth deal.
The team now has wrapped up a core group of players long-term including Deshaun Watson, Nick Chubb, Myles Garrett, Greg Newsome, and now Ward and this will help the team stay competitive for years. Stay tuned to see what other signings we get this week. Will Jadeveon Clowney resign? Does Baker Mayfield get traded soon? It’s a bit of a soapbox with the Browns but they certainly keep the offseason active for its fans.