While the Browns’ front office overhaul may have an effect on the team’s decisions relating to certain players, it doesn’t appear as if it will affect cornerback Joe Haden. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter links), the Browns have been negotiating a long-term contract with Haden, and were in touch with his reps yesterday. Locking up Haden will remain a top priority for the club through the front office transition, says Breer.
Haden, the seventh overall pick in 2010, has one year remaining on his rookie contract, with a base salary of $6.68MM owed to him for 2014, to go along with a cap number of about $8.93MM. As such, the Browns may be more concerned with finalizing decisions on ’14 free agents like center Alex Mack and safety T.J. Ward. Still, the team will be looking to keep Haden off the open market next year, so an agreement within the next 12 months looks likely.
On his first NFL contract, Haden already ranks among the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, by annual salary. A new agreement could easily vault him into the top five at his position. With that sort of deal, he’d be looking at a salary that approaches or surpasses $10MM per year, not an unreasonable figure for a player who is still just 24 years old and is considered one of the league’s best at his position. NFL scribe Brian McIntyre expects Haden to seek $30MM+ in guaranteed money on his next contract (Twitter link).
Haden was named to his first Pro Bowl this past season. In 15 starts for the Browns, the Florida product picked off four passes and defended 20 more, while consistently limiting the production of opposing teams’ number one receivers.