A former Cleveland Browns first-round pick from 2010, who’s been playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers now may be looking to return in free agency
Joe Haden, who has been playing football for the Pittsburgh Steelers for the past five seasons is again a free agent. He once was drafted by the Cleveland Browns long ago, all the way back in the 2010 NFL Draft. It seems like ages ago, and Haden is aging, approaching 33 years old. But he might have a few years left in the tank. If Tom Brady can play football after the age of 40, why can’t Haden?
Recently, Tommy Jaggi, a contributor to the Still Curtain, a FanSided fan page for the Pittsburgh Steelers suggested that Haden might consider the Browns as a good landing spot because of his previous time with the team.
So, would Haden even consider returning to the team that drafted him and then released him prior to the start of the 2017 season to save $7 million in cap space?
Haden was a fan favorite in his time with Cleveland. He was a draft in 2010 at No. 7 and quickly was taken in by the fan base. His departure was a bit of a surprise at the time, but when he signed with the Steelers it just complicated things for the fans of Cleveland. How could he go to rival Pittsburgh and the arch enemy of Cleveland?
He did and the last five years have been difficult for those that may have once worn Haden’s Browns jersey with pride. So now he is a free agent. The Browns will need to gather a few new cornerbacks for next season because players like M.J. Stewert and Ronnie Harrison are also free agents and could be on their way out of Cleveland.
Imagine Haden returning to the team that drafted him to begin with? Wouldn’t you appreciate that and welcome him with open arms? You once did with NBA basketball icon Lebron James.
The advantage of bringing back a player like Haden is that he’s already a savvy veteran with a great career. He won’t be playing for many more years, but he could add a wealth of experience to a Cleveland secondary that needs help. He’s recorded 29 interceptions, two touchdowns, forced seven fumbles, and had 615 tackles. In his rookie season in Cleveland, he recorded six interceptions.
You add Haden to be the backup to Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II, along with backup Greedy Williams and you have a very solid group of cornerbacks.
Haden was being paid very nicely in his previous contract with the Steelers, as he was earning north of $15.5 million. With his age and lesser production in recent years, the Browns might be able to land him for half the price.
Having Haden return to Cleveland would certainly draw some headlines but it would also be a legitimately nice story to have a player that gave so much to a struggling team in the past. Now that team is winning, he could be the difference in getting the team back to the postseason.
Here’s hoping the Browns consider the advantages of making a deal for a past player that was once loved by the fans.