It’s not a breaking news how both Joe Haden and Mike Hilton are looking for a new contract before the start of the 2019 season. Mike Hilton has been participating in all team activities without signing his Exclusive Rights Free Agent tender (much like Alejandro Villanueva in 2017) in hopes of signing a long-term deal. Joe Haden is entering the final year of his three-year contract and has already stated he wants to retire a Steeler. Hilton is looking for his first large contract in the NFL. Haden has now passed the dreaded 3–0 and is thinking about the conclusion of his career. Both players are coming from different perspectives, but they have the same goal: multiple seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers beyond 2019.
First, let’s look at where each player stands contractually. Mike Hilton has his tender on the table which would pay him $645k for the 2019 season. There is no dead money if Hilton is released before the season, but after playing out his contract Hilton would be a restricted free agent in 2020. Over the course of his three year career (two on an NFL active roster), Hilton has earned just over $1 million total prior to 2019.
As for Joe Haden, he is in the final year of a three-year contract with the Steelers and has a cap hit of close to $12 million. With a savings of $10 million if he were to be cut, some have speculated Hayden could be released in a cap-saving move. But it really makes no sense for the Steelers to cut their best corner. With his expected salary for 2019, Haden would be set to go over the $100 million mark for his soon-to-be ten year career.
While signing Mike Hilton to a new contract would require more salary cap space, extending Joe Haden would most likely reduce his cap hit for 2019. Looking at both of these factors, it could be in the Steelers best interest to make both moves when it comes strictly to the numbers of the salary cap. The biggest issue would be Hilton’s contract demands as slot corners have seen their salaries greatly increase over the past few seasons.
There are other concerns when it comes to both players. At the end of 2018 it appeared Hilton was falling out of favor with the Steelers, even though he was still believed to be one of the top slot corners in the league. As for Haden, he has yet to play a 16 game season with the Steelers, so his availability and longevity has been the biggest concern with him going back to his time with the Browns. After looking at these factors, it could be possible it is in the Steelers best interest to just have them play under their current contracts for 2019, or make the drastic move in releasing either player.
From an on-the-field standpoint, it would be unknown exactly how the Steelers would replace their production. In 2018, Hilton and Haden combined for three of the teams eight interceptions, while Cam Sutton was the only other corner to pick off a pass. Additionally, Haden led the Steelers with 12 passes defensed while Hilton was second with eight. So statistically they were the two best pass defenders on the Steelers.
So what do you think will happen with the contracts of Joe Haden and Mike Hilton going into 2019? Are they both worth locking up beyond 2019, or should the Steelers wait and see while running the risk of losing them after the season?
Will Mike Hilton and/or Joe Haden get a new contract before the start of the 2019 season?
This poll is closed
Yes, they will both get new deals
Only Joe Haden will get a new deal
Only Mike Hilton will get a new deal
Neither will get a new deal before 2019