Cleveland Browns strong safety T.J. Ward (43) gets congratulations from guard Jason Pinkston (62) after returning a fumble for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos Rumors: Front-runners for T.J. Ward?

Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd, Cleveland Browns strong safety T.J. Ward, and San Francisco 49ers strong safety Donte Whitner are generally regarded as the top three impending free agents, and they should all receive huge contracts. Whitner quietly had a phenomenal 2013 season, as he greatly improved his coverage. Even though he receives a high amount of fines, most of those are based on his reputation and not the hit itself, as he is one of the best form tacklers at the position and almost always hits with his shoulder. He hits hard, but he also hits clean.

While Whitner could be a bargain buy for teams on the free agent market, the USA Today’s Tom Pelissero believes that the 49ers will end up re-signing him. He does, however, believe that the Cleveland Browns will pick up Jairus Byrd at free safety to replace departed strong safety T.J. Ward, whereas Ward will land with the Denver Broncos.

Wait, the Broncos landing Ward? That’s interesting, and I wouldn’t take Pelissero’s prediction with a grain of salt, since he’s one of the top NFL Insiders around. Free safety Rahim Moore turned in a very good 2013 campaign before his season-ending injury, as he stabilized the team’s deep coverage. He’s an impending free agent, but it seems like the Broncos have a bigger need for an FS than an SS like Ward, since Duke Ihenacho is a decent enough starting safety. Ihenacho has strong instincts, hits hard, plays the run pretty well, and makes up for his subpar coverage by having a nose for the ball in pursuit. With the Broncos cap situation, I’m not sure Ward is a good option.

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Tags: Denver Broncos Rumors T.J. Ward

  • Matthew Heuser


    • Joe Soriano

      No doubt, and you can add about ten of those “greater than” signs to that haha.

  • anon76returns

    What’s wrong with the Broncos’ cap situation? Most stuff I’ve read puts them at about $34M under the cap. Between that and a “win now” imperative, Ward seems like a pretty good fit.

    Also not sure about your read on the Ihenacho-Moore situation. Assuming Moore is able to recover from compartment syndrome, he’s a good FS. Ihenacho is great in run support, but the Broncos didn’t lose the Super Bowl (or any other game last season) because of bad run defense. They consistently got beat in the passing game, in spite of the fact that they were fielding two of the best corners in the NFL last season (DRC & Harris). That means if they want to improve on last season’s performance, upgrades at safety need to happen.

    • Joe Soriano

      I know Moore is very good, and I think I am underrating the benefits that Ward could give this team in pass coverage, as well as their cap space with all of their impending free agents. I also think that the Broncos got beat so much deep because of how poor Mike Adams was at FS, and Duke was also a liability in coverage (can’t play outside of the box). It might be best for the Broncos to just use Duke as a SS, and the signing should check out if the Broncos have the room (that looks like my error).