former #broncos safety T.J. Ward expected to sign with the Buccaneers, per source— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 3, 2017
As we know, Ward was released earlier today by the Denver Broncos because of the young depth behind him on the depth chart. Players like Justin Simmons who now is expected to start along with Jamal Carter and Will Parks will have bigger roles on the defense for the Broncos.
Denver Broncos President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said it was tough to move on from Ward, but said it was a “football decision”.
“I think it’s a combination of everything. Any time you have a guy like T.J. that was such a big part of the championship year that we had and the last three years that he’s been here—he’s led that defense and plays with an attitude and a chip on his shoulder. We give him a lot of credit for what we’ve played defensively the last few years, but it always comes down to football decisions. With the young guys, they were playing well and it really wasn’t anything to do with T.J. It was just the fact that the young guys played well and that was the best football move for us.”
Also as we noted, multiple Broncos players spoke out against this move, and Elway addressed that as well. He said it’s his job to do what is best for the Denver Broncos organization and that basically, players will disagree with you sometimes, but that is part of the job.
“It’s always hard. I will tell you I was in that locker room and I didn’t agree with every move that management made. You create those relationships in that locker room and it’s important. T.J. was a big part of that, but I can tell you how many friends and people I had cut over my career and didn’t agree with all of them but that’s part of it. I think that they understand, at least I hope they understand, we had to do what we believe is best for the Denver Broncos. This is a situation—when you make tough ones like this they’re not always going to be popular but I think the young guys will step up and play well and fill those shoes very well.”
Now T.J. Ward will take his talents down to Tampa Bay in hopes of helping to turn around their defense the same way he did in Denver. He will also give the Buccaneers a vocal leader who will become popular in their locker room.
Good luck in Tampa Bay T.J., and thank you for all that you did in Denver.