Denzel Ward contract details: Browns lock up Pro Bowl cornerback

Denzel Ward has earned a five-year contract extension to stay with the Cleveland Browns.

After four years of service, the Cleveland Browns wisely give the bag to perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Ward and the Browns have agreed to a five-year extension worth $100.5 million, $71.25 million guaranteed, to become the highest-paid cornerback in the history of the NFL. Cleveland initially drafted Ward out of Ohio State with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He will not be hitting his NFL free agency until Ward is in his very early 30s.

This is such a huge pickup for the Browns long-term to ensure they will have a lockdown corner.

Cleveland Browns extend Denzel Ward: Pro Bowl cornerback contract details

Along with perennial Pro Bowl pass-rusher Myles Garrett, the plan is for Ward to be a franchise cornerstone of this Browns defense for the foreseeable future. While the offense will look vastly different with Deshaun Watson taking over for Ward’s draft classmate Baker Mayfield, it is abundantly clear that the Browns envision themselves contending for years in the AFC North.

What has served the Browns over the last half-decade or so is their front office has drafted well. Not every pick is going to be a hit, but the Browns have done a better job than most teams when it comes to selecting players in recent NFL Drafts. Of course, all that hard work in the offseason has translated into precisely one playoff win since the team came back to life as an expansion team.

Barring injuries and things of that nature, there is no downside to paying Ward top-dollar. Not only is a homegrown product, but the native Ohioan projects as a future goodwill ambassador for the Browns franchise once he hangs up the spikes many years from now. This is the perfect example of reinvesting in players who proved to be great team assets initially. Good for Ward getting paid.

The best part is the next cornerback to get paid big will make Ward’s new deal look even better.