The 2022 free agent signing period will get underway in one week and with that, it’s beginning to look more and more like Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden won’t be re-signed before 4:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday. In fact, judging by the last few tweets by Haden, he’s counting down the days until free agency starts and he seems resigned to the fact that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent on March 16.
Haden’s latest tweet came right after it was reported that the Seattle Seahawks are terminating the contract of veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner, who will turn 32 in late June. You can see that tweet below that includes Haden acknowledging that the NFL is a business.
Assuming Haden does become an unrestricted free agent on March 16 at 4:00 p.m. EST, it will mark the first time he’s experienced the process since being selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. The last time that Haden was a free agent was in 2017. He was, however, just a street free agent at that time as his contract was terminated by the Browns in late August of that year. He was quickly signed by the Steelers after being cut by the Browns and that deal was for three years and it totaled $27 million.
The Steelers do have plenty of salary cap space to work with this offseason so it’s not totally out of the question that Haden could be re-signed at any time moving forward and especially if the price is right. That said, the Steelers are probably interested in re-signing fellow cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon in the coming week as well. If Witherspoon is re-signed, odds become even greater that Haden won’t be re-signed.
Haden will turn 33 in April so his market is going to be limited if he hits unrestricted free agency. Even so, there’s probably a few teams out there willing to pay him more than what the Steelers would offer the Florida product. If indeed Haden does wind up signing with a different team, hopefully it results in him returning the Steelers a late-round 2023 compensatory draft pick.
Haden has been the perfect Steeler and if this indeed is it for him in the black and gold, we all wish him well. He’s a great human.