Joe Haden Not Included in Cleveland’s Future Plans
The Cleveland Browns made it very clear they are committed to the future.
Former first round pick Joe Haden wasn’t worth his price tag in the eyes of the Browns’ brass. It was reported that Cleveland asked Haden to take a pay cut to remain a member of the team. Haden refused the offer and the Browns made the decision to cut ties with one of the best players the Dawg Pound has had in recent memory.
More recent memory of Haden is filled with injury riddled seasons that hampered his play. His statistical output was low the past two seasons and he struggled to return to Pro Bowl form. Haden did undergo to groin surgeries and had concussion issues that caused him to miss games. He did play through the groin injuries but was slowed.
A Healthy Haden
Haden is reportedly at full health for the first time in a while and his goal is to return to the player he once was. He hasn’t exactly wowed in the preseason and still isn’t as fast as his early seasons, but increased speed will come with time. His football acumen is still sharp, which counts for something. Haden’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has expressed many teams are interested in adding the ex-Brown.
The price was too steep for the Browns, but did they suspect another injury or poor production from Haden in 2017? Possibly. Was his salary the reason? More than likely it was a combination of both.
Cleveland tried to move his contract via trade but were unable to find any suitors willing to pay their asking price. Instead, the Browns will still pay Haden four million dollars to play for another team. If he returns to form mid-season in another uniform, Cleveland may regret this move. The Browns are banking that Haden’s best years are behind him and the longevity of him having a productive football career post surgery is bleak.
Where will Haden land?
The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking like the favorites to land Haden. He’s familiar with the AFC North, would have two revenge games against his former team and would have his highest chances of reaching a Super Bowl on a Steelers team that, at full strength, pose the biggest threat to the New England Patriots in the AFC. Other teams interested include Kansas City, New Orleans and the Dallas Cowboys.
If Haden stays on the market longer than expected, more and more teams may show interest in his services. A veteran minimum contract will likely be proposed by multiple teams. Haden will have the opportunity to choose from different vet minimum contracts. A contract laced with incentives on a contender would influence where Haden signs.
If healthy, Haden is definitely worth the risk.