It comes as no surprise, of course, since the Giants were prepared to let Ward (nickname: Wind) leave as a free agent, unless he was willing to come back and play for a deeply discounted price. Instead, he found a windfall on the market, agreeing to a four-year, $17 million contract, according to several reports.
That deal reportedly includes $6 million guaranteed, and he’ll supposedly make $9.25 million over the first two years and $13 million over the first three. The entire package is worth an average of $4.25 million annually, which is more than many people thought he was going to make.
They still have Cadillac Williams and just last year the Bucs signed Earnest Graham to a four year $11.05M contract, so it looks like Ward won't have to do all the heavy lifting in Tampa either.
Graham is actually pretty similar to Ward. They are both 29 and bloomed late in their careers. Ward broke his leg and was placed on IR before game 9 of the 2007 season, while Graham was shelved in week 11 last year because of an ankle issue. The Giants plucked Ward off the Jets' practice squad while the Bucs got Graham off the Rams'. There was a really good article on Graham from a while back in ESPN The Magazine, if you have the time.
Ward's bread and butter on the Giants was catching screen passes and dump offs effortlessly and stretching them into more yards that you thought he should. He's not incredibly fast, but agile enough to work his way through congested areas. He had over 1,409 yards from scrimmage last year as part of Earth, Wind and Fire. That's pretty impressive and was a lot of fun to watch.
We knew Ward was leaving when he switched agents, and it does appear that (according to RV) that Drouche got Ward more money than most had anticipated. Still up for kneeing him in the balls for me anyway?
Good luck, Derrick. You seem like an all around good dude and that overtime game against Carolina in Week 16 where you ended up with 266 yards from scrimmage and owned the extra quarter, will live on in Giants lore.