The Cleveland Browns front office has been aggressive about extending their players this season.
They’ve already locked up both right guard Wyatt Teller and center Joel Bitonio long-term.
It’s also worth noting that the Browns have also given lengthy extensions to defensive end Myles Garrett and running back Nick Chubb.
However, the Browns front office might not be done quite yet.
There could still be another few players getting contract extensions from the organization in the near future.
1. Denzel Ward
In 2018, the Browns used the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL Draft to select defensive back Denzel Ward.
He came into the league and immediately started making an impact.
Ward earned himself a Pro Bowl selection during his first professional season.
He recorded 53 tackles, 11 passes defended, and three interceptions through 13 games in 2018.
After that season, both his tackles and interceptions have slightly decreased.
However, Ward has remained an elite defensive back in coverage, which is something that doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet.
The 24-year-old has continued to succeed in 2021, which could lead to another Pro Bowl appearance this season.
.@denzelward has been lockdown in coverage! #ProBowlVote
📺: #BALvsCLE – CBS 12/12 pic.twitter.com/XtggrFQ6Bx
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 3, 2021
This season through 11 games, Ward has 29 tackles, eight passes defended, and three interceptions.
The biggest issue for Ward has been staying healthy, but he has played in every game besides one this season.
Honestly, Ward’s impact on defense is not something that can be easily replaced.
The Browns front office needs to seriously consider offering Ward a long-term extension.
He has been successful in four straight seasons and has stayed relatively healthy in 2021.
Ward is certainly deserving of an extension, but it could be tough to find a common ground between the two sides.
A deal worth around $18-20 million per year is likely what it’s going to take to keep Ward in Cleveland.
It remains to be seen if Cleveland is willing to give that much in order to keep Ward around long-term.
2. Anthony Walker
The Browns got a steal when they signed linebacker Anthony Walker to a one-year deal this offseason.
The fifth-year linebacker has proven himself to be a legitimate force in the league.
During his final three seasons in Indy, Walker recorded 90-plus tackles during each season.
He also only missed one game during his last three seasons with the Colts.
Surprisingly, Walker signed a one-year deal with Cleveland after putting up those numbers in Indy.
It goes beyond the numbers on the field as Walker is a leader in the locker room as well.
After his departure, Walker’s former teammates and coaches had nothing but praise to say about Walker.
Darius Leonard posted a heartfelt message for former teammate and newest #Browns LB Anthony Walker… pic.twitter.com/p3mzA3OHzq
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) March 20, 2021
Since joining the Browns, Walker has continued to succeed on the field.
Through nine games, Walker has 85 tackles, one sack, and two passes defended this season.
Those 85 tackles are actually leading the Browns roster and it’s by a large amount.
The 26-year-old has given some stability to the Browns linebacker group, which is something that has been lacking over the last few seasons.
Cleveland does have a handful of young linebackers that could soon work their way into significant roles on the team.
However, it’s also important to have a leader and veteran presence on defense and that’s what Walker brings to the table.
He is an above-average tackler and someone you want to have around your young players.
The Browns should make an effort to keep Walker around this offseason, assuming the two sides can come to a common ground in terms of salary.
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