On Sunday night, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Joe Haden and the Pittsburgh Steelers were making progress on a two-year contract extension.
Steelers and corner Joe Haden are making progress on a two-year contract extension, per source. Both sides have exchanged proposals. The two-time Pro Bowler is due $10 million in the last year of his deal, and the team could rework that year and extend him through 2021.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 5, 2019
While the length of the contract would be what many have expected, the larger question was if Hayden would be receiving an extension or an all-new three-year deal. If the report holds true and Haden is given a two-year extension, a likely scenario would be for almost $9 million of the $10 million Haden was due in 2019 being converted to a signing bonus and spread out over the length of the contract. If this is the case, Haden’s cap hit for 2019 would fall from almost $12 million currently to about $6 million.
The other looming question with Haden’s extension would be his yearly salary over the final two years. Carrying about $3 million of dead money into 2020 and 2021, some would expect Haden’s yearly income to be slightly lower than the $9 million he averaged over three years when he initially signed with the Steelers in 2017. Although it would be nice to see the Steelers get a bit of a discount for the 30 year-old veteran, Hayden would probably still want at least $7 a season for the two years of his extension.
While age will definitely become a factor over the life of is contract, Haden was the only Steelers player in 2018 to have multiple interceptions. Haden will turn 31 before entering the extension phase of his new contract if the two sides are able to make the deal. In 2018, there were only 11 NFL cornerbacks age 31 or older, three of which who had multiple interceptions: Josh Norman (3), Brandon Carr (2), and Johnathan Joseph (2). Although it used to be common for cornerbacks to occasionally put up big numbers in interceptions past the age on 31 (Ty Law had 10 in 2005), the numbers have dipped more in recent years.
It is entirely possible Hayden could take a lesser salary over his final two years with the Steelers, Of the cornerbacks listed earlier who were over 31 in 2018, Josh Norman is due over $11 million dollars next season according to overthecap.com. As for Brandon Carr and Johnathan Joseph, they are due to be paid $6 million and $4.5 million respectively in 2019. If Haden realizes the market for cornerbacks over 30 may not be fantastic, perhaps he settles for a slightly lower contract than the one he signed in 2017.
All the factors involved with a Joe Haden extension are merely speculation at this point. As Steelers fans know over the past several years, “making progress” can still be a long way from a player signing on the dotted line. Hopefully both sides can come to an agreement on deal that keeps Haden happy in the Steel City without putting the Steelers in too much financial hardship for years to come.