Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward is the new highest-paid cornerback in the National Football League. Ward, 24, is signing a five-year $100.5 million contract, according to a league source not authorized to speak publicly.
Denzel Ward signs massive extension with the Browns
The Browns had exercised Ward’s fifth-year option a year ago, and now he’s under contract for the long haul. Ward gets $71.5 million guaranteed in the deal, which was negotiated by CAA Football’s Tory Dandy and Browns general manager Andrew Berry (along with other front office officials).
A former first-round draft pick from Ohio State, Ward, a Cleveland native, is now under contract through the 2027 NFL season with the Browns.
The shutdown corner and former Big Ten Conference standout has continued to grow every year since being drafted in 2018. Since signing a four-year, $29.16 million fully guaranteed rookie contract, Ward has lived up to high expectations. Ward was an immediate starter for the Browns, recording 2 interceptions in his first NFL start against the Pittsburgh Steelers, picking off Ben Roethlisberger.
He has been named to the Pro Bowl twice and was an All-Rookie selection. He had 53 tackles, 3 interceptions, 11 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries in 13 games as a rookie.
In his second NFL season, he intercepted a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals and returned it for a touchdown. Two seasons ago, he picked off Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to clinch a win.
He has 186 career tackles, 10 interceptions, and 2 touchdowns in four NFL seasons. Ward is highly regarded for his cover skills, tackling, and consistency. This blockbuster contract is not a surprise.
Revisiting Ward’s path to the NFL
A former 10.49 sprinter in the 100 meters, Ward excelled immediately as a true freshman for former Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer. He finished his career with 2 interceptions and 67 tackles before declaring early for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Ward ran the 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds and had an 11’4″ broad jump, a 39″ vertical leap, and bench-pressed 225 pounds 16 times.
Before the 2018 NFL Draft, he met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, and San Francisco 49ers as well as the Browns.