The now-former teammates of T.J. Ward reportedly weren’t happy with the team’s Saturday decision to cut him. Ward wasn’t, either.
“It’s unfortunate the way they handled the situation,” Ward told reporters on Monday, via James Palmer of NFL Media. “But it is what it is. And they got to live with it. I got to live with it. And we’ll see what happens, but I’m going to make sure I land on my feet. That’s just me. And whatever happens to them, the [expletive] happens to them. That’s on them.”
So how should they have handled it?
“You could have let me know what was going on,” Ward said. “You had a full offseason. I know it’s a business, but when you have good employees, you’re supposed to treat your employees a certain way. And I think they handled it completely unprofessional. That’s just my opinion.”
It’s hardly the first time a team squatted on a player’s contract for all of the offseason, training camp, and the preseason before cutting him loose at a time when most teams already have their rosters set. That’s why so many contracts include roster bonuses or other triggers that force an early decision — and it’s why plenty of teams don’t like including that clause.
Ward lost as much as $500,000 in the transition, given reports that his supposed $5 million contract has a base value of $4 million and $1 million in incentives. If he’d been available in March, he quite possibly would have gotten a better deal. He’d definitely be better prepared to make an impact from Week One.