T.J. Ward: Tampa Bay Buccaneers expected to sign former Denver Broncos safety

By The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 3, 2017 at 2:35 PM
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to sign three-time Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward, who was released by the Denver Broncos as they made their final roster cuts at Saturday's deadline.

It will be a one-year deal worth $5 million, according to ESPN on Sunday. Ward had been scheduled to make a non-guaranteed $4.5 million with the Broncos in the final year of the four-year contract he signed in 2014 but was cut after three seasons.

The 30-year-old Ward started 14 games last season and recorded 69 tackles, one sack and one interception. He did not play in any of the four preseason games after suffering a hamstring injury in practice in early August.

The Bucs continue to add depth at their safety position, including signing J.J. Wilcox from the Dallas Cowboys this offseason and selecting Texas A&M's Justin Evans with a second-round draft pick.

Chris Conte and Keith Tandy, the two returning players at the position, are expected to start the season opener against the Miami Dolphins next Sunday.

Entering his eighth NFL season, Ward spent the last three years with the Broncos after being signed as an unrestricted free agent in 2014. He started all 41 regular-season games played as well as four postseason contests while making the Pro Bowl in two of his three seasons in Denver (2014, 2015).

Ward totaled 222 tackles, five sacks, three interceptions, 19 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in regular-season action with the Broncos. In the postseason, he added 19 tackles, one interception, three passes defensed and one fumble recovery. He picked off Carolina's Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50 two seasons ago to help Denver win a championship.

Ward started all 95 regular-season games played during his NFL career with Denver (2014-16) and Cleveland (2010-13) after being selected by the Browns in the second round (38th overall) of the 2010 draft out of Oregon. His seven-year NFL totals include 545 tackles, 8.5 sacks, eight interceptions, 41 passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

John Elway, the Broncos' president of football operations and general manager, said Saturday, "This was a difficult decision to part ways with T.J. after everything he's done for our football team."

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