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Joe Haden, Released by Browns, Signs With Steelers - This Is Sports Zone

Veteran cornerback Joe Haden switched teams in the AFC North in a matter of hours Wednesday, officially signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being cut by the Cleveland Browns earlier in the day. Haden’s three-year deal is for $27 million, including $7 million this year, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 28-year-old Haden was released by the Browns on Wednesday morning. He was not subject to waivers, making him free to sign with another team after 4 p.m. ET Wednesday. Pittsburgh announced the move Wednesday night.

Sources told Schefter that Haden had offers from other teams but turned them down because he wanted to play for Pittsburgh. ESPN reported earlier Wednesday that the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys were among the other teams interested in him. Haden’s father told ESPN that the cornerback flew to Charlotte on Wednesday night for his physical. The Steelers play their final preseason game at Carolina on Thursday.

Haden was due to be paid $11.1 million this season. The Browns approached Haden about taking a pay cut, but he did not agree to it, a source told ESPN. The Browns then sought a trade but ultimately released Haden when they found no partner, a source said. The Browns open the season at home against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10. One veteran player in the Steelers’ locker room texted that he was “hyped” about acquiring a player who can instantly help the defense. The Steelers were searching for a starting outside cornerback across from second-year corner Artie Burns. Ross Cockrell started much of last season but relinquished some first-team reps to Coty Sensabaugh in the preseason. Injuries kept corners Senquez Golson and Cam Sutton out for most of training camp. Veteran William Gay can still play in the slot.

Haden, who was Cleveland’s first-round pick in 2010, has fought through injuries the past two seasons. He missed 11 games in 2015 with a finger injury and a concussion. In 2016, he missed three games and played through two groin issues that required postseason surgery. Before that, he was a high-level corner in 2014 and has had success in the past guarding talented Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green, whom the Steelers see twice a year. Stocked with first-round picks and returning most of its starters, the Steelers’ defense believes the window is now to chase a seventh championship. In a statement posted on his Instagram account Wednesday morning after his release, Haden expressed optimism about his future.

Haden, who last went to the Pro Bowl in 2014, was also set to make $11.2 million in 2018 and $10.4 million in 2019. Releasing Haden cost the Browns $3.2 million in cap space this season and $3.2 million next season. He signed a five-year contract extension in May 2014.

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