Once again, John Elway has made a blockbuster free-agent signing. And once again, the signing was a bargain.
The best part of the deal? Denver landed Ward with an insanely low price tag.
$5.5 million a year for T.J. Ward via @MaryKayCabot. That's what I love to hear.— The Orange Page (@theorangepage) March 11, 2014
T.J. Ward gets 4 years, $23 million; $14 million guaranteed— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 11, 2014
Ward is flying to Denver to officially sign with the team Tuesday evening, per Albert Breer. A press conference has been scheduled for Wednesday in Denver.
Ward (5-10, 200 pounds) is a fifth-year player who started all 54 games he appeared in during his first four seasons with Cleveland after being selected by the club in the second round (38th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft from the University of Oregon. His career totals include 340 tackles (253 solo), five interceptions (133 yds.), 3.5 sacks (29 yds.), 26 passes defensed, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two defensive touchdowns (INT, FR).
In 2013, Ward registered a career-high 129 tackles (96 solo), and matched his career best with two interceptions (57 yds.) to earn his first career Pro Bowl selection and second-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press. He also was voted by his teammates as the recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award after starting all 16 games for the Browns following a knee injury late in the 2012 season.
"We are excited to add T.J. Ward to the Denver Broncos," Elway said. "He’s a young, explosive strong safety who is going to bring a lot of energy and toughness to our secondary."
Denver's 2014 salary cap number will only take a hit of approximately $5.5 million after the Ward signing (assuming the deal is not front-loaded), allowing Denver to make many more signings in free agency.