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 With teams more willing than ever to rip up outdated deals, it’s a sensible gamble — especially since it gives Ward significant financial protections.