The Cleveland Browns apparently have no more use for a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.
Cleveland, after reportedly trying to trade Joe Haden this week, cut him early Wednesday morning. It wasn’t to save salary-cap room, since the Browns have more cap space than they could ever use. Haden’s play has slipped but it’s hard to imagine the Browns, coming off a 1-15 season, have 53 players better than the 28-year-old former first-round pick.
But when the Browns talk about a youth movement, they mean it.
“We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field,” Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said in a statement. “He has been a great teammate and a true asset to the Cleveland community. These are very difficult decisions, we have the utmost respect for Joe and in my eyes, he will always be a Cleveland Brown.”
“Joe gave everything he had for the Cleveland Browns and that’s all you can ask for as a coach,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said in a statement. “He was a leader on and off the field. I wish him all the best as he continues his career.”
The release, 11 days before the season opener, should make for an interesting bidding war. Haden isn’t the player he was a few years ago, when he was among the best cornerbacks in football, and he won’t command anywhere near a huge deal. But he could help a contender like the Oakland Raiders or Dallas Cowboys, to name two teams. Even the rival Pittsburgh Steelers appear to be in the mix for Haden, according to ESPN and NFL Network reports:
Sounds like the #Steelers are showing strong interest in Joe Haden now, based on messages to my phone.
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 30, 2017
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) August 30, 2017
In a pass-happy league there is always a use for a solid cornerback, and it’s rare to see a player like Haden become a free agent at this point in the year.
There are always some shocking moves on cut day, which is Saturday. The Browns got a jump on that, giving us a fairly big surprise a few days early.
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