By: Josh Shippen
Today, the Arizona Cardinals made a very underrated addition to their practice squad, that addition being safety T. J. Ward. Ward’s name should be familiar to Browns, Broncos, and maybe Buccaneers fans. Ward was a shutdown safety about the time when I started following football so I am no T. J. Ward expert, but I will fill you in on some reasons on why this is a really solid add. Ward was drafted 38th overall in 2010 by the Cleveland Browns and made an instant impact as a 16 game starter for their defense. While with the Browns, Ward had one pro bowl year and made 2nd team all-pro in 2013.
In 2014, Ward was signed by the Denver Broncos, signing a 4-year contract worth 23 million dollars. Ward continued to be an effective starter for the Broncos, making another Pro Bowl in 2014 and helping his team reach Super Bowl 50. Ward was released in 2017 and subsequently signed in Tampa Bay, where he disappeared and eventually ended up back in free agency in 2017.
Ward has been on the street ever since and has had some minor legal problems at that time, but that’s not important. The Cardinals signed Ward, which is a great addition for a team that really wants to improve their defense, as to help their team to reach that next level. It’s entirely possible that Ward is done, but as we have seen with Aldon Smith this year, spending time away from football isn’t necessarily a career death sentence. Ward gives this defense even more potential, and if they had a full power T. J. Ward alongside Budda Baker, who is quickly becoming one of the best safeties in the league, then this defense suddenly goes from slightly above average to dangerous.