Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: CB Joe Haden
Stock Value: Even
Joe Haden is another veteran player whom we have not revisited since long before the new league year started, although to be realistic, it’s not like there have really been any updates. And so that’s reflected here in his stock evaluation as maintaining the status quo, neither going up or down.
Haden is coming off his best season in years in 2019, and his first season as a 30-plus player. He finished the year with five interceptions, the most that he has ever had since his rookie season, during which he picked off six passes. And there are really no threats to his job.
In fact, he is beginning the first year of a two-year extension that he signed just before the previous season started, agreeing to a deal that pushed the Steelers somewhat out of their comfort zone by including more guaranteed money for a non-quarterback position than they are used to. Of the $22 million he got in new money, nearly $14 million was in a signing bonus. Noice.
Anyway, moving on, the fact of the matter is that Haden is in as good of a position as he has been in years. The Steelers have some young cornerbacks in Cameron Sutton and Justin Layne, but neither of them are threatening his position as a starter any time soon, or so it would seem.
The only real question is how long he can stave off father time. He takes care of himself better than he ever has before, but even so, he is not the athlete he once was. However, he is also playing in about the most talented secondary, and defense as a whole, that he has ever worked with, which also helps his own play.
Haden really was the start of the resurrection of Pittsburgh’s secondary, and he’s become a leader for the team for good reason. His third season with the Steelers was his best yet, and there’s no reason to think he shouldn’t continue to play well in 2020. We can cross the bridge into 2021 when we come to it, quite frankly.