Joe Haden’s Browns’ career came to an end as the Browns released him Wednesday morning. Let’s break down why the Browns let go of the veteran CB.
Cap space is huge for the Browns as they build for the future. Winning some games on the field this year will attract marquee free agents and the Browns will have the money to pay them. Joe Haden was under contract for three more years with the Browns. During those three years, Haden’s cap hit number is over 14 million the next two seasons and then close to 11 million in 2019.
Releasing Haden gives the Browns over 60 million in cap space, which would allow them to pursue free agents in the offseason. The cap space would also allow the Browns to hold on to their current players through contract extensions. The excess money may even entice Terrelle Pryor to come back to join the team.
Releasing Haden out of town now would actually not leave the cupboard bare for the Browns’ secondary. They have two young corners in Jamar Taylor and Briean Boddy-Calhoun, proving that they can be playmakers on this team. Along with the Taylor and Boddy-Calhoun, the Browns have veteran corner Jason McCourty signed for the next two seasons, who can be the 3rd corner as well as take on a leadership role for the younger guys.
Losing Haden definitely leaves the Browns without a big-name corner, but Taylor and Boddy-Calhoun will be able to make the transition without Haden fairly easy. You would probably notice him missing from the front row at the Cavs games more than on the field.
The drop off in production from Haden has been apparent over the past few seasons. When he signed the big contract, Haden was a rising star destined to be a Pro Bowler each and every season. Injuries have been the main culprit but even when on the field, his play has been suspect.
In Haden’s last 18 games, which stretch over two injury shortened seasons, he has only recorded 13 pass break ups. In the previous two seasons, he recorded 20 pass break ups in each of the campaigns. He did have three interceptions this past season, but they all came against the Ravens. They may speak more of the receiver woes that the Ravens have been experiencing than to Haden’s current skill set.
Haden’s health is probably the most pressing reason the Browns released him. He has missed a total of 14 games over the past two seasons and hasn’t played a full season since his rookie year. The most valuable ability a football player can have is availability and Haden lacks that.
On a weekly basis, Haden has seemed to be getting banged up over his career. Early in his career, he was able to play through the bumps and bruises but now the injuries seem to be getting more serious each year
In conclusion, releasing Haden allows younger players to grow, but at the same time, the Browns wouldn’t lose too much on the field. The Browns were smart to let this veteran go and only pay four million to him instead of his giant contract that remained.
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