The Cleveland Browns released star cornerback Joe Hadenearlier this week. He promptly signed with the Browns AFC rival Pittsburgh Steelers. If the Browns decision to cut Haden seemed curious when it happened, wait until you get a load of this report from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora:
Haden was having a tremendous offseason, was healthier than he has been in years and was seen as a pivotal leader on and off the field for a perpetually rebuilding defense. The move to simply cut him, only for him to end up with rival Pittsburgh as the Steelers fortify for a potential Super Bowl run, was staggering to players and coaches (The Steelers were very impressed with Haden’s preseason film and health, and will pay him at least $7 million for this season). Sources said Jackson was not aware the front office had been shopping the corner, one of the team’s highest-paid players, and the coaches viewed Haden as an invaluable piece of their team, especially at a position where the Browns are not deep.
Head coach Hue Jackson was reportedly “irate” when he learned that Haden had been cut. No one saw it coming. The move was a pure salary dump, but considering the Browns have $60+ million in cap space, it was probably the most unnecessary salary dump imaginable. Unless they’re saving up to sign LeBron next offseason. Do they know that won’t happen? They might not.
You almost feel bad for Jackson and the Browns, but that franchise’s continued incompetence seems to know no bounds. Just don’t feel bad for Joe Haden who got to leave Cleveland, join a contender and he didn’t even have to be a bad guy about wanting out of a bad situation as many players do. Not that all of the fans understand that.