When the Cleveland Browns signed SS Donte Whitner, we knew the writing was on the wall that SS T.J. Ward would not be returning to the team. A little over an hour into free agency, Adam Schefter reported that the Denver Broncos agreed to terms with Ward. A little bit player, Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer reported on the possible terms of Ward's deal in Denver, where he'll be re-united with Tom Heckert:
#Browns TJ Ward's contract: 4 years, $23 million, $14 million guaranteed.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 11, 2014
The signing in Denver, coupled with the fact that Ward is making $1.25 million less per year, means Ward wanted to pursue free agency rather than returning to Cleveland. That would explain why the Browns reacted to quickly to replace Ward (presumably for a similar price). Also, if both Ward and C Alex Mack wanted out, it's easier to find a replacement for Ward than it would've been to find a replacement for Mack.