DENVER—T.J. Ward was not traded, did not get his walking papers, and received no assurances.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph was asked pointedly Thursday night if he was planning on having Ward, a three-time Pro Bowl strong safety, on his football team.
“I can’t speak to that, today,’’ Joseph said. “That’s more for tomorrow’s conversation and Saturday’s conversation.’’
Ward is vulnerable to losing his job with the Broncos because there is so much young talent behind him in Justin Simmons, Will Parks and Jamal Carter. And because Ward is 30 years old and has seemingly had a difficult time staying healthy. And because he is set to make a $4.5 million salary that is not guaranteed.
Asked about the team placing Ward on the trading block or possibly getting released, Joseph said: “Nothing on that. Again, it’s going to be a long weekend of a lot of transactions so I cannot speak to that. At the end of the day, we want the best guys for our football team, and if he’s one of them, he will be.’’
Ward's precarious status has been the talk on the defensive side of the locker room. Many are going public with their support for Ward.
"Letting go of T.J. would be a mistake,'' tweeted linebacker Brandon Marshall, who is not afraid to speak out for what he believes is right. "With all the plays he's made and leadership he's brought, he deserves to at least play out his contract.''
Ward has missed the entire preseason because of a hamstring strain. Simmons has replaced him and played well.
"I don't think the trade rumors are true,'' said Simmons, who would benefit the most by Ward's departure. "If you're asking me and my opinion, I think T.J. put it on tape. We'll just have to wait and see with that. I think the trade rumors are crazy but when it comes down to it, taking all those snaps at the starting strong (safety), free (safety), whatever it may be, those will be big snaps. Those were the snaps I had at the end of last season (when Ward missed the final two games with a concussion), snaps that Will (Parks) and I have had so we'll just have to keep taking those, watch film and keep continuing to get better and better as we go.''