Browns sign Ward as players report to camp
Cleveland’s fastest rookie was the slowest to sign.
But that doesn’t matter, Denzel Ward is under contract.
The No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, Ward signed his four-year, $29 million deal on Wednesday and reported to training camp with the Browns’ other first-year players and veterans.
The speedy Ward, who is expected to start this season, is receiving a signing bonus of $19.2 million. Ward’s deal also includes a team option for a fifth year.
Ward was the final player from the Browns’ 2018 rookie class to sign his first pro contract, and general manager John Dorsey expressed relief not to have any holdouts. On Tuesday night, quarterback Baker Mayfield — the top overall pick — signed his four-year, $32 million contract.
Ward, who grew up in the Cleveland area, is the fourth Ohio State cornerback selected in the first round in the past three years. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder played in 38 games for the Buckeyes, making two interceptions as a junior All-American last season.
In addition to Ward, Dorsey upgraded Cleveland’s secondary by signing free agents E.J. Gaines, T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell as well as trading for Damarious Randall.
Second-year safety Jabrill Peppers is expected to miss the start of camp with a groin strain.