Rumors begin swirling this week that cornerback Joe Haden was looking for an extension with the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Tuesday morning, these rumors were confirmed as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Drew Rosenhaus, Joe Haden’s agent, has reached out to the Steelers to discuss a contract extension.
Drew Rosenhaus, agent for Steelers’ Pro-Bowl CB Joe Haden, has approached the team regarding an extension for his client, who is now going into the last year of his contract. “Joe wants to finish his career with the Steelers if possible,” Rosenhaus said this morning.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 10, 2021
There are both pros, cons, and unanswered questions when it comes to doing an extension for Joe Haden. In the final year of his contract, Haden has the second-highest salary cap number for the Steelers for the 2021 season at $15.575 million. While the majority of the contract, $8.575 million, is in money already paid to Haden and will count on the 2021 salary cap regardless, it’s the $7 million base salary which could be changed and possibly lowered with a contract extension and subsequent signing bonus.
With this in mind, the biggest questions when it comes to Haden’s salary would be money paid based on his age. Haden is entering his 12th NFL season and turned 32 just before the 2021 NFL draft. Although his play on the field has not shown significant deterioration due to age, the biggest question is ultimately when Haden might see a slow down in his production as father time creeps in.
The contract Joe Haden signed in 2019 with the Steelers was for three years with an average yearly payout of $11 million. Currently, there are only eight cornerbacks in the NFL with an average yearly salary of $5 million or more who are over the age of 30 according to overthecap.com. Of those eight players, Haden is the third-highest average salary for the 2021 season behind Darius Slay and Stephon Gilmore.
If Joe Haden and his agent Drew Rosenhaus are entering contract talks believing Haden should receive a similar salary as his last contract, then it may be a very short-lived negotiation. With age being a factor, it’s difficult to put so much money into an aging cornerback before the 2021 season is played.
Trying to get an idea of what the market could be for a cornerback of Haden‘s age, a good high and example would be 33-year-old Pro Bowler Janoris Jenkins, who signed a two-year contract this offseason with the Tennessee Titans for $15 million. At $7.5 million on average per season, Jenkins deal has $7 million in base salary for 2022 which makes him a much easier player to release next year should 2021 not work out. If looking at a player more on the lower end of the spectrum, 33-year-old cornerback Jimmy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens is playing the final year of his two-year contract, signed last offseason when he was 32, which was for $5 million and gives a yearly average of $2.5 million.
When it comes to the extension for Joe Haden, it all depends on how far apart the two sides are when it comes to years and money. If the two sides are nowhere close, look for Haden to simply play out the final year of his contract in Pittsburgh and see what the 2022 offseason holds. If the two are relatively close in their thinking, we could see Joe Haden adding another couple seasons onto his current deal.
Whether or not it works out, seeing Joe Haden’s love for the Steelers and a desire to finish his career donning the Black & Gold is the first step in the process.
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