The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will Joe Haden receive a contract extension this summer, and if so, how much will it cost?
The Steelers’ secondary would be in a much darker place if they didn’t have Joe Haden fall into their laps in August of 2017, granted, they paid out to get him, giving him the biggest contract they have ever handed to a player that they didn’t draft or develop, but his sudden release by the Cleveland Browns had them falling over themselves to get his signature on paper by the end of the same day.
That three-year, $27 million deal certainly looks to have been worth it. With the former 2010 first-round pick entering the final year of his contract, however, the question about his future now comes up. The veteran defensive back recently turned 30 last month. How many good years does he have left in him? And what are those years worth?
With Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard just signing a new extension worth over $15 million per season in new money, the table has been set. Not that he is going to hit that number at this point in his career, or for his whopping three interceptions in the past two years, but it’s fair to say that he will make more than $9 million per season like he did on his first contract with the team.
Haden is currently under contract for this season with a cap hit of over $11.9 million, of which $10 million is his base salary for the 2019 season. The per-year average doesn’t even crack the top 20 at the position at this point, coming in south of players such as Justin Coleman, Logan Ryan, Jimmy Smith, Malcolm Butler, Darius Slay, and others.
For the Steelers, he is nearly invaluable, especially potentially so near to the end of their Super Bowl window and with how relatively thin the secondary is without him. He is a leader and one of the most well-liked players in the locker room. He also loves being with the team, and I’m guessing would love to finish his career here.