DENVER (CBS4) – After days of speculation, the Broncos have cut veteran safety T.J. Ward.
Ward, who made the Pro Bowl three times during his four years in Denver, was in the final year of his contract.
Last season he started in 14 games for the Broncos and recorded 87 tackles.
Reaction from inside the Broncos locker room was almost immediate on social media with C.J. Anderson tweeting, “I’m really going to miss my brother TJ man damn” and cornerback Chris Harris tweeting, “Ima miss my dawg @BossWard43.”
Ward’s release capped days of speculation after reports leaked on Tuesday that the Broncos had been in talks about the possibility of trading Ward. Linebacker Von Miller originally called the reports, “fake news” and said he couldn’t believe the Broncos would consider trading T.J.
On Tuesday after practice Vance Joseph said he hadn’t heard of the trade rumors adding, “He’s one of our better players, so I would be surprised if he was, but I have not heard that.”
However, on Thursday after the Broncos preseason game against the Cardinals Joseph struck a noticeably different tone when asked about the possibility of Ward being cut saying, “It is going to be a long weekend of transactions you know, so I cannot speak to that. At the end of the day, we want the best guys for the roster, and if he’s one of them, he will be.”
The Broncos will turn to second year players Justin Simmons and Will Parks to fill the void left behind by T.J. in the No Fly Zone. Simmons played in 13 games last year and started three of them. He had two interceptions. Parks played in 16 games last year and had one interception.
The Broncos will open the season on Monday Sept. 11 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Denver has until 2 p.m. on Saturday to get its roster trimmed down to 53 players.