Once again it is time to talk about contract extensions and the players that do or don’t deserve one. There are four players that immediately come to mind in regards to the Browns: Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Wyatt Teller and Denzel Ward. With 2/3 already signed for the future, it’s time to talk about the future of Denzel Ward.
Ward’s Career So Far.
With the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft the cornerback out of Ohio State, with him coming out of Ohio State you know he’s a clevelander at heart. There has been plenty of occasions where he has mentioned how he wants to stay in Cleveland for his whole career but we’ll get to that later.
At Ohio State he played in 38 games and had 57 tackles and 26 passes defended, including two interceptions. It wasn’t just his college career that helped build a case for him during his high school years he helped lead them to a 14-1 record and the Division II state championship game in 2014 by starring on defense with nine interceptions and 18 pass break-ups and on offense with more than 1,300 total yards and 20 touchdowns. No wonder the Browns decided to pick him fourth overall.
In his first season with the Browns he managed to get in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowler, he played in 13 games and managed 53 tackles with 11 passes defended and 3 interceptions. This was a star corner back in the making.
Throughout his career with the Browns it has been a mix of up and downs with injuries and being hit with covid there is a few people out there that think the Browns should move on from Ward but even with the injuries he’s had to deal with he’s managed to play in at least 12 games and that is something any NFL coach would take.
Carrying on into his game changing plays over the past few weeks especially the pick-six against the Bengals and the hit on Rashod Bateman which helped seal the win on Sunday against the Ravens. He has become a vital player for sure.
Does Denzel Deserve That Contract Extension?
When the Browns decided to pick up on Ward’s firth year option which keeps him in Cleveland till at least 2022 this is his season to prove that he deserves that extension and he’s doing just that.
Denzel Ward is proving why he deserves a new contract and why people need to be speaking about him more, his plays are impeccable at the minute, his great plays in coverage and bone-crunching hits are piling up week by week.
There is many other players on the team that could feel the void of Ward like Greg Newsome and Greedy Williams but also they still have work to do. Franchises often go years without having a true, elite cornerback on their roster is Ward that cornerback for the Browns?
Per the PFF Ward was ranked as the 8th best outside cornerback heading into this season, he has only improved that ranking with his stellar coverage and improvement in tackling. I won’t sit here and say that he is in the top three or top five but he is for sure in the top ten and he can only get better. Without Ward on the field some of the wins the Browns have achieved wouldn’t have happened.
Denzel Ward at full health is a player that has an incredible knack for breaking up passes and playing up to speed with some of the conference’s top players.
Even Denzel has spoken on wanting to stay in Cleveland and that’s the kind of player the Browns want someone who can play ball but also cares about the community.
Along with Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward is a huge part of the defense but the office of the Browns needs to sit and think how much to offer him and what he’s worth.
Denzel Ward is definitely a top ten cornerback and deserves a wealthy extension for sure, you could argue he’s always injured but when he’s at full health he is a weapon for the defense. In my honest opinion anything from $17M upwards seems about right. Ward will definitely be in the top five cornerbacks sooner rather than later that’s for sure.
Featured Image courtesy of dawgpounddaily.com
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