The Browns will finish up their season with Sunday’s game against the Steelers and then they’ll move onto an offseason that’s sure to change the look of the team.
Cleveland has a pair of first-round picks and a need at quarterback, leaving General Manager Mike Lombardi with a chance to really put his stamp on the team. It won’t all be about players from outside the organization, though. The team will also have a decision to make about impending free agent safety T.J. Ward, who is wrapping up an excellent season.
Ward leads the Browns is tackles and tackles for losses and has scored two touchdowns this season, which is the latest in a string of losing years he’s experienced since coming to Cleveland. That hasn’t soured Ward on sticking around, though.
“I definitely want to be back,” Ward said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I like my team. I love my teammates. I love being in this city. I love the organization. We haven’t had many wins, but I think we’re building something here, and I think it’s being built the right way. When you start something, I’m a person that wants to finish things and I want to finish things on a winning note. I want to play in the playoffs here, I want to bring this city a championship. I’ve been doing everything in my power to help this team win so I definitely want to see that through.”
If the Browns feel the same way about Ward, it should be fairly easy to keep him. Even if they can’t reach quick agreement on a long-term deal, the Browns can use the franchise tag to ensure Ward sticks around for at least another year while buying more time to hash out a deal.
Given how well Ward has played this season and the need to keep a strong defense while putting a new quarterback in place, the best guess is that he won’t wind up leaving town.