The Denver Broncos were rumored to have interest in former Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward before the free agency frenzy kicked off on Tuesday, but no one could have ever expected they would get him at a bargain price.
The team announced the signing of Ward shortly after it was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and contract details emerged shortly after that that Ward had signed a four-year, $23 million deal, roughly $5.5 million annually. The going rate for a top safety was expected to be at the very least $8 million.
The Broncos saved a good amount of money with the signing of Ward, and got what many believe was the best strong safety in the NFL in 2013, and one of the top five safeties in the NFL period.
Ward has started all 54 games of his NFL career, and has accumulated 342 tackles, five interceptions, and five forced fumbles in his four-year NFL career.
He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and earned 2nd-team All-Pro honors. Ward was also graded as one of the best safeties by Pro Football Focus this past season.
This is a huge addition for the Broncos, and a great step in the right direction for rebuilding their defense one piece at a time. If Ward comes as a piece along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie–whom the Broncos are hoping to re-sign yet–the Denver secondary takes a huge step forward.
John Elway took to Twitter with the news:
“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.”
Considering the deal Elway got with Ward, expect the Broncos to continue to be active on the free agent market.