Given his cap number for the 2017 season, which according to Spotrac was $14.4 million, it was going to be difficult for the Browns to find another team willing to make a deal. The Browns managed to save $6.7 million in cap space by releasing Haden, with the cornerback’s cap hit dropping down to $7.7 million.
Drew Rosenhaus, Haden’s agent, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that there has been “tons of interest” shown by other teams and that he expected a new deal to be agreed to by “tomorrow afternoon.” Schefter first reported that the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs are expected to have interest in Haden, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have emerged as the favorite to sign him.
“We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field,” said Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown in the release. “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.”
Haden, selected seventh overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, has spent his entire NFL career in Cleveland. After playing in 15 games or more in four of his first five seasons, Haden ran into injury issues each of the last two seasons, playing in a total of 18 games as a result. Haden made 13 starts for the Browns last season, accounting for 48 combined tackles, 11 passes defensed and three interceptions. During his time in Cleveland, Haden also earned two selections to the Pro Bowl, with those honors coming in 2013 and 2014.
With Haden no longer in the rotation, players such as Jamar Taylor, Jason McCourty and Briean Boddy-Calhoun will lead the way at cornerback for the Browns.