The Cleveland Browns have two elite impending free agents this offseason in center Alex Mack and strong safety T.J. Ward, and it’s unclear which one is the bigger priority for them to re-sign. Both Ward and Mack are two of the top players at their respective positions, and they are both clearly players the Browns need to do whatever they can to keep. They have the cap space to give both players the lucrative, long-term deals that they seek and would undoubtedly get on the free agent market, but it will be interesting to see if they are able to get deals done with both players before free agency starts on the 11th.
Ward has always been viewed as a potential candidate for the franchise tag, but it doesn’t look like he will be slapped with the tag before today’s 4:00 p.m. ET deadline. CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora reports that although he hasn’t received “official word” on this, he doesn’t “anticipate” the Browns slapping the franchise tag on Ward.
One of the best strong safeties in the NFL, T.J. Ward was snubbed from the Pro Bowl last season after recording 112 tackles and seven passes defended. He’s one of the game’s most feared hitters, and there isn’t a more intimidating SS to face in run defense. He has the range, strength, and athleticism to punish running backs and blockers with relative ease, and he’s an excellent weapon at the position who matches the prototypical strong safety.