Joe Haden: Browns let top cornerback fall into Steelers lap


The Cleveland Browns released cornerback Joe Haden and he landed right back in the AFC North with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed Cornerback Joe Haden on a three-year, $27 million deal.  A former first round pick of the Cleveland Browns, Haden was their top corner, and went to the pro bowl twice.  However, that pedigree wasn’t enough for the Cleveland Browns to keep him on the team.

Apparently the Browns asked Joe Haden to take a pay cut from his $11 million salary but he refused.  Haden ended up taking a pay cut any way as the Steelers will pay him about the same money as the Browns wanted to pay him.

The Cleveland Browns chose to release Haden and not pay him more than they thought he was worth.  Whoever replaces Haden in the Browns lineup won’t match his skill level.  But that’s not the point.

With a rookie quarterback in DeShone Kizer being named the starting quarterback, the Cleveland Browns know they will struggle.  So in releasing Haden, the Browns obviously weren’t concerned that he might end up back in the AFC North.

They more than likely would have lost to the Steelers twice anyway even if Joe Haden remained on the team.  So while it will be awkward to see Haden in a Steelers uniform, the Cleveland Browns open up some cap space and get a head start on giving younger players experience for the future.

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Haden probably could have gotten more money elsewhere, but Pittsburgh is the best situation for him.  He goes to a playoff team and addresses a need for their defense.  Cornerback wasn’t the Steelers strongest position and Joe Haden instantly becomes their top player at the position.

With high-powered passing offenses in New England and Oakland, the Pittsburgh Steelers chances of competing with those teams have improved.  Haden isn’t as good as he was two or three years ago but in the Steelers defense his talent is elevated.

So the Steelers get a top cornerback without having to give up anything to get him.  Joe Haden gets to go up against his former team twice a season and show them what they lost.  This is a nice fit for both sides.