CANTON, Ohio- After seven seasons in Cleveland, two-time pro bowl cornerback Joe Haden has been released by the Browns.
Many Browns players and fans were shocked at the news this morning, when they found out Joe Haden had been released by the team, including Haden himself. For me, I wasn’t shocked. I kind of seen this coming.
Haden’s first four years in Cleveland were great. He had 13 total interceptions during that four-year span. In his first year in Cleveland, he played in all 16 games and started in seven of those. Haden also made the pro bowl in 2013 and 2014. After that, Haden was the victim of the injury bug and then his play started to slowly decline.
Although I will miss Haden, I give the Brown organization credit. This new front office made it clear months ago that it doesn’t matter what you make, your credibility with the players or fans. If this front office doesn’t think you’re a good fit for the current team, you’re gone. Over the past two seasons, Joe has shown the inability to cover the other team’s top receiver. Haden has also struggled lately with being a good tackler consistently.
The Cleveland Browns tried trading him and also renegotiating his contract. Haden refused to take less money, that isn’t a shocker. The Browns owe him $4 million in guaranteed money this year, but that sum will be reduced when he signs elsewhere. They have $10.8 million in dead money on the books from the move.
There were multiple teams interested in Haden, but as of now, Joe Haden has agreed to a three-year, $27 million deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Haden would have proved last year that he could stay healthy, I don’t think this move happens, but I could be wrong. Also, the Browns have something planned after this move was made, they’ve shown that, in their short two-year time period of being together, that every move is calculated. That could mean waiting to see what players get cut from other teams, or promoting another player already on the roster who, in their eyes, has shown that he can fill that role.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Jason McCourty are the first two names that come to mind. But, I think Cleveland will be leaning more towards signing a player that gets cut by another team. And yes, there’s a good possibility that they would target a player from a team that already has a highly ranked secondary and the player wasn’t good enough to play on that team due to the level of competition or the player just simply got caught in a numbers game.
A change of scenery could be what’s best for Haden and unfortunately, since he didn’t experience much winning in Cleveland, maybe signing with a team that already has a winning culture will rejuvenate him. I do thank Haden for the quality seasons that he had and the way he represented, not only himself off the field, but the city of Cleveland and the fans. Haden was always involved in the community and did a great job of embracing the city and fans. I thank you for that. And I know I speak for many people when I say, good luck in the future, unless you’re on the team that plays against Cleveland. Other than that game, good luck.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick broulis