Earlier this morning, the Cleveland Browns locked in quarterback Baker Mayfield by exercising his fifth-year option through 2022. Just moments later, reports broke that the team would do the same for Mayfield’s fellow 2018 top-five draft pick Denzel Ward.
The one-time Pro Bowl cornerback’s 2022 salary will be guaranteed once the the option is officially exercised. He’s set to make $13.294 million in his fifth season if the deal goes through.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 23, 2021
With two early first-round picks in the 2018 draft, the Browns selected Mayfield at No. 1 and Ward soon after at No. 4. So far, both have proven to be pretty solid picks.
Through three seasons in Cleveland, Ward has recorded seven interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 143 tackles in 36 starts. Under his current rookie contract, the former Ohio State standout is set to make $9.5 million through the 2021 season.
Locking Ward in for an extra season, the Browns will retain some much-needed depth on an inexperienced secondary unit. The squad has also added former Los Angeles Rams veteran corner Troy Hill on a two-year $9 million deal heading into next season. With these two guys on the edges, the Browns should have a dangerous secondary to go along with their elite offensive unit.
Breaking an 18-year playoff drought last season, Cleveland will look to improve on their solid season in 2021.