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Browns breakdown: Denzel Ward

To pay or not to pay the cornerback
Denzel Ward
Denzel Ward(WOIO)
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 5:23 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In 2018, the Browns drafted two top-five picks in quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward. Both had their fifth-year options picked up by the team.

However, only one’s long-term extension is likely soon given his play in 2021.

This past season, Ward tallied 43 tackles, a team-high ten passes defended with three interceptions in 15 games propelling him to his second Pro Bowl of his career.

A performance that has been influential for younger players like Greg Newsome.

“He practices how he plays,” Newsome said. “He holds himself to a high standard. He comes into games saying my goal is not to let up a catch.”

Newsome, the only Browns corner secured past 2023, added he’s one of the best in the league right now. The organization might want to change that soon.

Jalen Ramsey of the Rams reset the market as the highest paid corner in the league making $20 million in average annual value. The sweet spot might be somewhere between $16.5-$19.5 million. However, Ward has made a case to make among the top three highest corners in the league.

“I think Denzel put together a fine year,” Brown’s general manager Andrew Berry said after the season. “He made a number of big plays at critical moments in the season.”

The Browns rank 13th in cap space which is $8 million over the league average.

The question is how much do they want to pay Ward?

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