Browns, Joe Haden begin talking contract extension
By Peter Smith
Oct 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) takes the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns have begun contract extension talks with cornerback Joe Haden. The first pick of the Tom Heckert era will be eligible to be a free agent after the 2014 season and the team would obviously like to keep him around for a long time to come as a cornerstone of the Browns defense.
Haden made the Pro Bowl this year and is a bonafide star at the corner position, but will have occasional lapses that get him beat. Many of his issues seem to prop up when he is trying to do too much. Haden has been an outstanding cover man when focused on a great wide receiver on the other side such as A.J. Green, but when he is matched against opponents who are good, but not quite as highly regarded, his focus can wander.
Rather than simply working to shut down the opponent, he tries to expand how much of the field he can cover and can get lost in the process. This should only improve with continued experience and the number of times this happens should only decrease.
The Browns are supposed to have somewhere around $45 million in cap room for this coming season, but that is a hollow number as much of it will be used on players the Browns already have. Haden will probably get more than $10 million a season, but the Browns also have to make decisions on T.J. Ward, likely to receive the franchise tag, Alex Mack, who is believed to be leaving for more money, Jabaal Sheard, Jordan Cameron and Buster Skrine. Who and how many they keep remains to be seen, but everyone of those players save Haden was making next to nothing against the cap, so there is cap room, but it is nowhere near that $45 million number. On the other hand, there is no way Athyba Rubin is going to get that $8.3 million he is due this coming season, so he will likely restructure or simply be released.
The Browns want Haden to be here. Haden wants to be here and has entrenched himself in the community and with other local sports in Cleveland. It is just a matter of time and figuring out how they want to structure the deal.