Joe Haden Rumors: Steelers, Chiefs, Saints Interested in CB After Browns Release

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 21: Joe Haden #23 of the Cleveland Browns looks on during a preseason game against the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns announced Joe Haden's release Wednesday. Not surprisingly, a number of NFL teams are already showing interest in the veteran cornerback.

According to Josina Anderson of ESPN, the Pittsburgh Steelers are showing "strong interest" in Haden, while ESPN's Adam Schefter added that the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints are expected to do so as well. 

Haden and the Steelers will meet Wednesday night, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Schefter called the Steelers the favorite to land Haden and noted that his release won't officially process until 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported there are 12-13 teams interested in Haden including the Steelers, but the defender will wait to consider his options once he officially enters free agency.

Haden, 28, has spent his entire seven-year career with the Browns, registering 299 tackles and 19 interceptions. He's a two-time Pro Bowler and was a second-team All-NFL selection in 2013.

"Joe gave everything he had for the Cleveland Browns and that's all you can ask for as a coach," head coach Hue Jackson said in a statement, per Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com. "He was a leader on and off the field. I wish him all the best as he continues his career."

Haden also released a statement on Instagram following his release: 

While every team in the NFL would be knocking on Haden's door if he was still playing at the level he showcased earlier in his career, his play has dipped in recent seasons. 

As Mark Chichester of Pro Football Focus noted, since signing a new deal prior to the 2015 season, "Haden's play has declined and nagging injuries have kept him from consistent play. 2016 was Haden's worst year as a pro. He gave up a league-high six touchdowns, and allowed 1.48 yards per coverage snap, the league's 12th-highest mark among cornerbacks."

While Haden didn't have much help given Cleveland's poor defense, it's safe to say he's no longer an elite option. And with Haden due to make $32.9 million over the next three seasons, cutting ties with his contract made plenty of sense for the Browns if they believed his best football was behind him.

Still, for teams that could use a veteran upgrade at cornerback, Haden is an extremely viable option.

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