Even before Ray Farmer was promoted as the GM of the Cleveland Browns, the organization viewed extending star cornerback Joe Haden as a big goal for this offseason. After rumblings of an extension started in February, those rumors increased last month and have now culminated in a new, long-term deal for Haden, who is coming off of another great year for the Browns organization.
Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith reports that the long-term pact will keep Haden with the Browns through the 2019 season, and he will reportedly receive a $14 million signing bonus with $22 million guaranteed and $23 million guaranteed for injury. It’s a massive financial commitment for the Browns organization, but they have the cap space and clearly want to keep Haden around for as long as possible. It’s worth noting that, per PFT, Haden will make more guaranteed money than Richard Sherman, who is regarded as the 1a or 1b-best corner in the NFL, will receive from the Seattle Seahawks. However, it is crucial to mention the caveat that because the Seahawks are a more successful organization, they have a much easier time locking up players for less money (check Michael Bennett as a prime example from earlier this offseason).
Haden is just 25, and the former top ten selection will be a shutdown corner throughout the course of his contract, barring anything drastic. He defended a whopping 20 passes last season, and he also has a new partner in crime after the Browns drafted Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert, who was generally regarded as the top player at the position, with the eighth overall pick after trading down with the aggressive Buffalo Bills. The Browns also plucked away big corner Pierre Desir in the fourth round of the draft, so CB should be a big position of strength next season following those two upgrades next to Haden.
Update: FOX Sports’s Mike Garafolo reports that Joe Haden will make $68 million over the five years of the extension, and he confirms that Haden’s total guarantees are worth $45 million ($22 million normally, an additional $23 million for injury).