A day after failing to deny reports that they were shopping 2-time Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, the Browns cut him.
There were no takers.
The release of the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft continues the Browns’ youth movement and salary shed.
“We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field,” executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said in a statement released by the team. “He has been a great teammate and a true asset to the Cleveland community. These are very difficult decisions, we have the utmost respect for Joe and in my eyes, he will always be a Cleveland Brown.”
Haden had 3 years left on the 5-year, $67.5 million extension he signed in 2014 but only $4 million remained of the guaranteed portion of the deal. The team takes a cap hit of $7.7 million this year and $3.2 million in 2018 by cutting Haden now.
The Browns no longer felt the player matched his paycheck.
“Joe gave everything he had for the Cleveland Browns and that’s all you can ask for as a coach,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “He was a leader on and off the field. I wish him all the best as he continues his career.”
The additions of Jason McCourty this offseason, Jamar Taylor in 2016 and the emergence of Briean Boddy-Calhoun made Haden expendable in view of Brown and Jackson.
Haden, who made the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014, spent the last 2 seasons battling various injuries including ribs, finger, and 2 concussions in 2015 and then 2 torn groin muscles last season.
His 101 pass break-ups rank second in the league over the last 7 seasons.
There haven’t been many athletes that have embraced the city of Cleveland like Haden did from the moment he was drafted. A die hard Cavs fan, Haden wasn’t shy about going out and being spotted around town. He loved living here as well which is why he took the criticism he often received from fans so hard.
The Browns roster, which stands at 83, will be reduced by 30 more by Saturday at 4 p.m. when the league mandates all teams must be down to 53.
Offensive lineman Cameron Erving and quarterback Brock Osweiler are the 2 biggest names that are on the bubble.