Number four overall pick Denzel Ward and the Cleveland Browns have come to terms. It took longer than it should but the 2018 draft class is signed.
So on the day before the first training camp practice, Cleveland’s final unsigned draft pick finally pen to paper and signed his rookie contract.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 25, 2018
The former Ohio State Buckeye cornerback agreed to a four-year contact worth $29.16 million and is fully guaranteed. It includes an option for a fifth year. Ward gets $19.29 million guaranteed.
Ward’s signing is very important. The Browns expect Ward to start in his rookie season. Cleveland had one of the worst secondaries in the league in 2017. It is very important to be in training camp on time as a rookie because learning the scheme of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams takes time.
“He fits in ability-wise,” Williams said back in June at Browns mandatory mini camp. “He has had a chance to play at a very high level in college. Both he and Myles (Garrett) – have fit into the locker room faster than most rookies that I have had the chance to draft. I do not move them up the depth chart without the understanding of how they are fitting in with the other veterans that play on the field.”
The signing of the Macedonia native comes one day after number one overall pick Baker Mayfield signs his rookie contract.
Ward’s deal took longer than expected due to offset language in the contract. It is similar to what took place in negotiations with Baker and his agent.
Ward made a name for himself in 2017 with the Buckeyes. He led the scarlet and gray secondary with 37 tackles and two interceptions. Ward made the All-American and All Big-Ten first team defense in his final season in Columbus. The honors are impressive considering 2017 was his only season as a starting cornerback for head coach Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.
Scott Piker is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Browns.