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Joe Haden now preparing to test the free agent market after the 2021 season

After hoping for a contract extension, Joe Haden is now interested in playing out his year in Pittsburgh and testing free agency in 2022.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Pittsburgh Steelers brought in Joe Haden, he has embraced the organization like few else have. Haden has enjoyed being a part of a first class organization, and winning football games. This being something he did very little of during his tenure with the Cleveland Browns.

Entering the final year of his current contract, it was reported during training camp that Haden approached the Steelers wanting a contract extension. Getting the extension wouldn’t just decrease his salary cap hit for the 2021 season, but ensure he finishes his career with the Steelers.

As fans already know, the Steelers don’t negotiate contracts once the season starts, and with Week 1 looming it seems Haden has seen the proverbial writing on the wall. The Steelers, who have yet to give T.J. Watt the mega-deal he is expecting, are likely not interested in locking in the aging cornerback long term.

Now Haden’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is telling Adam Schefter of ESPN his client isn’t interested in an extension now, but wants to test the free agent waters after the 2021 season.

Rosenhaus continued with this quote regarding the 32 year-old cornerback.

For the record, regardless of what Rosenhaus does, or does not say, the Steelers will still have a shot at signing Haden at the end of the season, if they want. A lot will ride on how Haden performs in 2021, and if he stays healthy. When healthy, there is no doubt Haden can still play at a high level, but does the price tag match the production? That is the ultimate factor in this scenario as the 2021 regular season approaches.

Again, the Steelers’ main focus right now has to be the Watt contract. Nothing else can happen until that deal gets done. Depending on how much Watt’s new deal eats into salary cap space, regardless of the inflated salary cap in 2022, will dictate what the team can do with some of their pending free agents.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 of the regular season.