Browns, Denzel Ward Finalizing Extension

The Browns have made a pair of massive additions to their offense already this offseason. Today, they made another big splash, signing cornerback Denzel Ward to a lucrative second contract. Ward is inking a five-year, $100.5MM extension (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). 

Schefter adds that the deal includes $71.25MM in guaranteed money. That figure, along with the $20.1MM-per-year average, makes Ward the highest-paid corner in league history, putting him just ahead of Jalen Ramsey. After being the fourth-overall pick in 2018, the 24-year-old has established himself as a cornerstone of the Browns’ defense.

Ward immediately became a starter in his rookie season, recording three interceptions and 11 pass deflections. He has essentially replicated those totals throughout his four seasons in the league, earning Pro Bowl nods in 2018 and 2021. The former Buckeye has yet to surrender a completion percentage above 60.3%. He was still under contract for the upcoming campaign, scheduled to make $13.3MM on his fifth-year option. Now, he will be in the fold through 2027.

This deal makes Ward the second member of the 2018 draft class to receive an extension. The other, running back Nick Chubb, signed a $36MM extension this past July. Those two players have been integral to the team’s success, leading to their vastly different situations relative to the top pick that year, Baker Mayfield.

Ward will stay in place at the head of a CB room which also features Greedy Williams and Greg NewsomeThe team doesn’t own a first-round pick as a result of the Deshaun Watson trade, but their secondary is already in solid shape without one for both the short- and long-term future.

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