CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – If the Browns really want to move on from Joe Haden they may be forced to cut him this weekend.
Haden is being “aggressively shopped” to multiple teams according to CBS NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora, but his contract makes a trade difficult.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson, who claimed to be taken aback following practice by the reports, didn’t deny that the corner was being shopped.
“This is the time of year where everything starts happening and things start getting said,” Jackson said. “Obviously, I don’t know that but we’ll deal with those things as we move forward.”
Haden was not made available by the Browns following Tuesday’s practice for comment.
Haden is scheduled to make $11.1, $11.2 and $10.5 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019. A trade would also cost the Browns cap hits of $3.3 million this year and $3.2 million in 2018 according to spotrac.com.
Bottom line, Haden makes too much money and requires too much cap space.
The Browns could easily swallow the massive cap hit by cutting Haden this weekend. The team currently has $55.9 million is space available. Only San Francisco has more at over $68 million according to figures from the NFLPA. There are 19 teams that currently have at least $12 million in available cap room which is the bare minimum needed to complete a trade.
The Browns could conceivably try to flip Haden for help at receiver, linebacker or offensive line – 3 areas where they lack depth – or maybe another 2018 draft pick.
Haden, a 2-time Pro Bowl corner that was selected seventh overall in the 2010 draft, is coming off of surgery to repair 2 groin tears in January, which he played through last season. He signed a 5 year, $67.5 million extension, including a $16 million signing bonus and $45 million guaranteed, in 2014.
“He’s had a great training camp and I think he’s played well in our [preseason] games,” Jackson said. “Again, he’s a huge piece of what we do on defense and we’ll just keep moving from there.”
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams put Haden on notice shortly after his arrival in January. Haden has since pledged to return to his Pro Bowl form now that he is healthy after missing 14 games over the last 2 seasons due to injuries.
Now Jackson is leaving Haden’s future in Cleveland up to executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown.
“I trust Sashi and his group to make the right decisions that are best for our football team,” Jackson said. “Do I want Joe Haden on our football team? Yes. But like I said, whatever our organization thinks is best for our football team, that’s what we’ll do.”
Trading Haden isn’t impossible, but it won’t be easy considering his contract, cap hits and injury history.