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Joe Haden reaches three-year deal with Steelers, hours after being cut by Browns

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Steelers are banking on Haden (0:43)

The Steelers signed cornerback Joe Haden after he was released by the Browns and Jeremy Fowler reports that players in the locker room are excited about the addition. (0:43)

Veteran cornerback Joe Haden switched teams in the AFC North in a matter of hours Wednesday, officially signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being cut by the Cleveland Browns earlier in the day.

Haden's three-year deal is for $27 million, including $7 million this year, sources told ESPN.

A breakdown of his contract:

  • $5.75 million signing bonus

  • $1.25 million base salary in 2017

  • $9 million salary in 2018

  • $1 million roster bonus in March 2018

  • $10 million in salary 2019

Only the signing bonus is guaranteed.

Haden, 28, was released by the Browns on Wednesday morning. He was not subject to waivers, making him free to sign with another team after 4 p.m. ET. Pittsburgh announced the move Wednesday night.

Sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Haden had offers from other teams but turned them down because he wanted to play for Pittsburgh. ESPN reported earlier Wednesday that the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys were among the other teams interested in Haden.

Haden's father told ESPN that the cornerback flew to Charlotte on Wednesday night for his physical. The Steelers play their final preseason game at Carolina on Thursday night.

"They've seen Joe for the last seven years. They have an appreciation for his game. [Steelers coach] Mike Tomlin has always," said Joe Haden Sr., who added that Steelers players Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert were recruiting their former University of Florida teammate behind the scenes Wednesday.

Haden was due to be paid $11.1 million this season. The Browns approached Haden about taking a pay cut, but he did not agree to it, a source told ESPN. The Browns then sought a trade but ultimately released Haden when they found no partner, a source said.

The Browns open the season at home against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10.

One veteran player in the Steelers' locker room texted that he was "hyped" about acquiring a player who can instantly help the defense. The Steelers were searching for a starting outside cornerback across from second-year corner Artie Burns. Ross Cockrell started much of last season but relinquished some first-team reps to Coty Sensabaugh in the preseason.

Injuries kept corners Senquez Golson and Cam Sutton out for most of training camp.

Veteran William Gay can still play in the slot.

Haden, who was Cleveland's first-round pick in 2010, has fought through injuries the past two seasons. He missed 11 games in 2015 with a finger injury and a concussion. In 2016, he missed three games and played through two groin issues that required postseason surgery.

Before that, he was a high-level corner who played in the Pro Bowl after the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He has had success in the past guarding talented Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green, whom the Steelers see twice a year.

Stocked with first-round picks and returning most of its starters, the Steelers' defense believes the window is now to chase a seventh championship.

In a statement posted on his Instagram account Wednesday morning after his release, Haden expressed optimism about his future.

A post shared by joehaden23 (@joehaden23) on

Releasing Haden cost the Browns $3.2 million in cap space this season and $3.2 million next season. He signed a five-year contract extension in May 2014.

"We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field," Sashi Brown, the Browns' executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement. "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."

ESPN's Adam Schefter, Dan Graziano, Jeremy Fowler, Josina Anderson and Pat McManamon contributed to this report.