Source: Bucs to sign ex-Broncos safety Ward
TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are signing three-time Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward, a source told ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
It’s a one-year deal worth $5 million. He had been scheduled to make $4.5 million with the Denver Broncos this season but was released Saturday after three seasons.
The Bucs upgraded their safety position this offseason by signing J.J. Wilcox from the Dallas Cowboys and selecting Texas A&M’s Justin Evans with a second-round draft pick. Neither unseated the Bucs’ two returning players at the position — Chris Conte and Keith Tandy, who were expected to start the season opener against the Miami Dolphins.
Ward, 30, has a history with Bucs director of player personnel John Spytek, who was with the Cleveland Browns‘ front office when they drafted Ward in 2010 and with the Broncos when he was a scout, winning a Super Bowl in 2015.
In 14 games last season, Ward registered 87 combined tackles (69 solo), eight pass breakups, three forced fumbles, an interception and a sack. In the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 win over the Carolina Panthers, Ward had an interception and a fumble recovery.
In training camp this year, he dealt with hamstring issues that kept him out of the preseason. The Broncos had also drafted two safeties — Justin Simmons, who did not miss a single tackle in 2016 according to Pro Football Focus, and Will Parks.