The Broncos have released three-time Pro-Bowl safety T.J. Ward, reports NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Ward, 30, had one year left on the four-year, $23 million contract he signed with Denver before the 2014 season. The hard-hitting safety was selected to the Pro-Bowl in both of his first two seasons in Denver and was a crucial part of the defense that carried Denver to a win in Super Bowl 50. In that game, Ward recorded an interception and a fumble recovery that all but clinched a Broncos victory.
But Ward is aging and missed this entire preseason with a hamstring injury. In his absence, 23-year old Justin Simmons played well and is expected to replace Ward at the starting strong safety position.
The Browns selected Ward in the second-round out of Oregon in 2010, and he played his first four seasons in Cleveland. By cutting him, the Broncos save $4.5 million in cap space, and 9News' Mike Klis is reporting that the extra space could be used to sign kicker Brandon McManus or linebacker Todd Davis to extensions.
Another team will more than likely pick up Ward, but his tenure as part of Denver's "No Fly Zone" secondary is over.
NFL teams have until 4 p.m. today to trim their rosters to 53, and you can follow all the notable cuts here.