Inside the Denzel Ward deal

NFL: AUG 03 Cleveland Browns Training Camp
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The Browns have given cornerback Denzel Ward a new contract. The numbers on the contract are in.

The full breakdown appears below, per a source with knowledge of the terms.

1. Signing bonus: $20.000 million.

2. 2022 base salary: $1.035 million, fully guaranteed.

3. 2023 option bonus: $18.4 million, fully guaranteed

4. 2023 base salary: $4.041 million, fully guaranteed.

5. 2023 per-game roster bonuses: $600,000 total.

6. 2024 base salary: $15.324 million, guaranteed for injury; $1.024 million is fully guaranteed at signing, and the rest becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2023 league year.

7. 2024 per-game roster bonuses: $600,000 total.

8. 2025 base salary: $13.476 million, guaranteed for injury; $12.45 million becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2024 league year.

9. 2025 per-game roster bonuses: $600,000 total.

10. 2026 roster bonus: $2.5 million, due on the third day of the 2026 league year.

11. 2026 base salary: $16.9 milion.

12. 2026 per-game roster bonuses: $600,000 total.

13. 2027 roster bonus: $2.5 million, due on the third day of the 2027 league year.

14. 2027 base salary: $17.4 million.

15. 2027 per-game roster bonuses: $600,000 total.

The $100.5 million extension has an annual new-money average of $20.1 million. Of that amount, $71.250 million is guaranteed for injury at signing, and $44.500 million becomes fully guaranteed at signing. Over the first three years, the fourth pick in the 2018 draft will earn $60 million.

The average, guarantees, and cash are the most ever for a cornerback. Also, the guarantees vest early. The first two years are fully guaranteed now. The third year becomes guaranteed by next March. By the third day of the 2024 league year, the injury guarantees through 2025 will be fully guaranteed.

To get the deal, Ward had to commit for six full years. The cap will go up in the interim. The market at the position likely will, too. If he keeps playing at a high level, he could be looking for a new deal after the first three years of the current one. With teams more willing than ever to rip up outdated deals, it’s a sensible gamble — especially since it gives Ward significant financial protections.

16 responses to “Inside the Denzel Ward deal

  1. I can see the Browns being God for a couple of years, but then they are going to be hurting unless they draft extremely well.
    The cap will become a problem

  2. Only roughly a million dollar salary in 2022? Just like the Teller, Bitonio, Garret, John Johnson, and Watson deals?

    Denzel must be looking at a suspension and then dirty rotten Browns are protecting his money.

  3. The Browns very much know what they are doing with their salary cap. Andrew Berry is as smart as they come. Browns have locked up many of the key positions and are poised to make a 3-5 year run now.

  4. Not a Browns fan but Ward is an outstanding DB and probably would have gotten similar money from another team. So, for once, they didn’t over pay.

  5. This feels like a good deal for all parties involved. Ward has lived up to his #4 overall pick by becoming one of the best DBs in the NFL and didn’t have to leave to get paid. Browns fans get to cheer for a guy that the team drafted and developed. The Browns get to reward a player they drafted, know, and trust, which is always better than handing out that kind of money to a player who is unknown and that was good somewhere else. This is why Watson’s fully guaranteed (meaning all cash and barely on the salary cap) will hopefully be the new normal for big contracts in the NFL.

  6. drfeelyouup says:
    April 19, 2022 at 1:40 pm
    He’s the real reason that Big Ben retired.

    ———-

    Ben got tired of beating the browns like a drum.

  7. hodawg says:
    April 19, 2022 at 2:19 pm
    The Browns very much know what they are doing with their salary cap. Andrew Berry is as smart as they come. Browns have locked up many of the key positions and are poised to make a 3-5 year run now.

    _______________________________________________________________________

    Now that is funny. What they are doing is what they always do. They change there whole way of doing things every few years and try to copy who is most recently relevant and winning. Problem is they are always a little late to the party and screw it up. Now they are going all in like the Rams while pushing every dime into the future to put them in a no win situation to dump the very talent they over paid after they try and fail to win now. People seem to forget that Watson has actually for all of they hype not played all that great while having pretty darn good players around him. He has done no better than Baker while having better around him. This is not going to go well. Wait and see.

  8. Thanks Browns, for blowing up the CB price. As a Packers fine I was hoping to see them extend Jaire Alexander who should be very much in Ward’s price range. Now, if I were Gutekunst I’d think strongly about trading him in the next 10 days for draft picks or whatever. Alexander is good, but can NFL teams really plan to pay corners this kind of cash? I suppose the market will tell us.

  9. weepingjebus says:
    April 19, 2022 at 5:39 pm
    “The cap only hurts you if you let it.” — Broncos

    80Rate This

    ——————-

    And the ‘94 9ers and ‘95 Steelers

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