Yesterday, an interview with Steelers cornerback Joe Haden by The Athletic revealed that Haden wished to receive a new contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers to finish his career with the team. Tuesday morning, a tweet by ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed that talks had officially begun to make that wish a reality.
Schefter tweeted that super-agent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents Haden, had reached out to the Steelers about getting an extension done to keep his client with the franchise beyond the 2021 season, the last of a three-year deal that has continued Haden’s tenure in Pittsburgh.
Drew Rosenhaus, agent for Steelers’ Pro-Bowl CB Joe Haden, has approached the team regarding an extension for his client, who is now going into the last year of his contract. “Joe wants to finish his career with the Steelers if possible,” Rosenhaus said this morning.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 10, 2021
Haden has spent the last four seasons in Pittsburgh, after signing with the team shortly after his release from the Cleveland Browns following the 2016 season, after playing seven years there. He received a new three-year deal just before the 2019 season began to keep him in Pittsburgh through the end of this upcoming season.
A new contract would keep Haden as the veteran leader and mentor to a young Steeler secondary, specifically at the corner position. In the wake of cutting Steven Nelson and seeing Mike Hilton leave as a free agent because of cap constraints, the Steelers top corners behind Haden are Cameron Sutton, a quality third corner in recent seasons and now in his first year as a starter, James Pierre, an undrafted player stepping into a third corner role, and a host of late-round picks and undrafted rookies fighting to make the roster.
By Over the Cap’s calculations, the Steelers have ample room to get an extension done with Haden, possessing the most projected cap space in the NFL for next offseason at $73.4 million (though much of it is earmarked for other uses, such as extensions for players like T.J. Watt).
At 32 years old, one more long-term deal would likely assure Haden the chance to retire as a Steeler, should he play out the length of the contract.
In four seasons with Pittsburgh, Haden has made 10 interceptions, defensed 48 passes, forced two fumbles, and made 200 tackles (11 for a loss) across 56 games, all as a starter and the team’s No. 1 corner of a secondary that has become a strength of the team during his tenure. He made his third career Pro Bowl in 2019, with five interceptions, 17 passes defensed, a forced fumble and fumble recovery, and 65 tackles in 16 games.