Ward grew into his role at safety and had his best season in 2013, with 112 tackles, 1.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and two interceptions. He also became much more of a team leader.
He is not the greatest coverage safety in the league, but he is a big, physical player who can play near the line of scrimmage in run support. He fits in a system that values aggressive safeties.
Ward was caught in a mini-controversy last season when he went low against New England's Rob Gronkowski after the tight end made a catch. Ward said he made a decision to go low to avoid a fine for hitting high, but the hit wound up sidelining Gronkowski for the season with torn knee ligaments.
A second-round draft choice in 2010, Ward started immediately as a rookie. He missed 10 games the next two seasons but bounced back to have his best season in his contract year.
ESPN.com Browns reporter Pat McManamon contributed to this report.