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How long can Steelers cornerback Joe Haden produce at an elite level?

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Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

We are back again with part 36 of our 90-part series — assuming the roster does not change before we are complete — which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Let’s take a look at the Pro-Bowl corner:

Joe Haden

Position: CB
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 195 lbs
College: Florida
Draft: 1st round 8th overall 2010 (Browns)


2019 stats

5 Interceptions
1 Forced Fumble
1 Fumble Recovery
17 Passes Defended
65 Total Tackles
3 Tackles for Loss


Contract remaining

Expires in 2021
$9,625,000 salary cap number (4.8% of total cap)
$8,575,000 Dead money
$1,050,000 Savings if cut


Likelihood of making the roster

Lock. Joe Haden has been a breath of fresh air at the cornerback position since his arrival in 2017. He’s continued to play at an elite level and had one of his best seasons in 2019. His big contract number and his minimal savings makes Haden as close to a lock as you can find on this roster.


2020 projection

I think Joe Haden will have another high end season in 2020. He’s healthy and hungry, and I don't believe we will see much, if not any, drop off in his game. His 5 interceptions might be hard to replicate, however, the defense is so good that quite a few passes will be forced and thrown earlier then quarterbacks will want.

Steven Nelson has also shown that he can be the Steelers top corner if it’s needed, meaning Joe Haden should never have to follow a teams #1 Wide-Out around the field, and will see some better matchups because of it.


Projected stats:

4 Interceptions
2 Fumble Recoveries
15 Passes Defended
72 Total Tackles
4 Tackles for Loss


Summary

Joe Haden’s second Steelers contract expires at the conclusion of the 2021 season, and I think it’s fair to imagine he comes back for another season or two.

His addition to the defensive backfield signaled a change in identity for Steelers management. After years of struggling to find defensive back talent through the draft, Kevin Colbert and company turned to different means to adding to the position. Including signing Steven Nelson to the richest free agent deal in Steelers history and trading a first round pick, for the first time in over 50 years for Minkah Fitzpatrick.

If Joe Haden plays another three or four years at this level and possibly picks up a ring, I think there may be a spot in Canton, Ohio for the corner.


Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy
Zach Banner
J.T. Barrett
John Battle
Jordan Berry
Saeed Blacknall
Breon Borders
Chris Boswell
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Isaiah Buggs
Devin Bush
Deon Cain
Kam Canaday
Chase Claypool
Josiah Coatney
James Conner
Anthony Coyle
Jordan Dangerfield
Amara Darboh
Carlos Davis
David DeCastro
Christian DiLauro
Kevin Dotson
Bud Dupree
Eric Ebron
Terrell Edmunds
Trey Edmunds
Matt Feiler
Minkah Fitzpatrick
Zach Gentry
Ulysees Gilbert III
Derwin Gray