Sometimes rumors are just rumors, and when it comes to NFL teams trying to move a player, it can be just blowing smoke. However, if you are like me, when there is even just a hint of smoke in the air, you can trace it back to fire.
Jason La Canfora of CBS recently reported the Cleveland Browns are trying to shop cornerback Joe Haden, likely to move his contract.
Hearing from multiple teams that the Browns are aggressively trying to trade CB Joe Haden. Very motivated to move his contract— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 29, 2017
Here are the details of his current contract, via Sportrac:
Joe Haden signed a 5 year, $67,500,000 contract with the Cleveland Browns, including a $16,000,000 signing bonus, $45,078,193 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $13,500,000. In 2017, Haden will earn a base salary of $11,100,000 and a workout bonus of $100,000, while carrying a cap hit of $14,400,000 and a dead cap value of $10,800,000.
With all that said, should the Pittsburgh Steelers look to add another Browns cornerback to their roster, a year after they brought in Justin Gilbert for a late round draft pick?
Rumors have the Browns interested in wide receivers, and that is something the Steelers actually have a plethora of at the moment.
Nonetheless, it is all about the deal.
First, the Steelers would likely request the Browns to eat a lot of Haden’s current contract. There is just no way they can afford to pay a player like Haden that much money.
Second, who exactly would the team be giving up for Haden? Sammie Coates comes to mind, but it is highly unlikely the Browns would take a straight up deal, Haden for Coates. Either the Steelers throw in another player, which is also unlikely, or they start tossing around draft picks.
Something like a 4th or 5th round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft could entice the Browns to pull the trigger. At the same time, you have to wonder if the Browns would even find any of the Steelers mid-to-lower tier receivers worthy of a trade. The team isn’t cutting ties with Antonio Brown or Martavis Bryant, so the best they could possibly do is someone like Eli Rogers, or Justin Hunter. Not exactly top end talent all the way around.
Third, what does Haden have left? Haden has been injured the past few seasons, playing in 13 games last year, but only 5 in 2015.
The Steelers could use a cornerback like Haden on the outside opposite Artie Burns, and it could certainly help complete their roster, but it all comes down to cost. In my opinion, Pittsburgh should be doing whatever possible to win now. Ben Roethlisberger’s time in the NFL is waning, so do what you have to do to make this football team not just a playoff contender, but a Super Bowl contender.
If that means parting ways with a receiver like Coates and a mid-round draft pick? So be it, as long as the coaching staff feels Haden can still be the Pro Bowl player he once was in Cleveland.