2-time pro bowl cornerback Joe Haden has officially been signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The deal is 3 years worth $27 million, $7 guaranteed in the first year. The Browns were reportedly testing the trade waters earlier in the week, but they ultimately decided to cut him Wednesday morning. Haden was the Browns 7th pick in the 2010 draft and was regarded to as an elite cornerback until a significant drop in his performance in 2015. He had his fair share of injuries and being a cornerback, Haden much like all corners rely on his lower body movement and as he got older it seems as if he simply could not do the things he used to be able to. He also dealt with a groin injury in 2016 that he played through. It ended up requiring surgery in the offseason, it shows a lot about his character that he played through that injury for a 1-15 Browns team.
It was practically impossible for the Browns to trade Haden and they had to cut him too. They owed him over 20 million for the next two seasons, he frankly just isn’t worth that anymore. I doubt they’re happy that he ended up in the same division, but that’s what happens in free agency. The release of Haden suggests to me that the Browns still believe they’re a few more seasons away from being relevant.
I like this pickup for the Steelers to bolster their shaky but young secondary. Tomlin now can use Artie Burns as his #1 corner and put Haden on a #2 just to erase that receiver. It’s a tactic that many teams with two good corners use, and of course it began in New England. Haden provides upper level play as well as veteran leader to help make a super bowl push.