Cleveland Browns re-sign CB Joe Haden

When Richard Sherman got a 4-year, 56 million dollar extension last week, I didn’t love it because it was a ton of money for a cornerback, but I understood why he deserved that and why they had to make the move. Joe Haden’s extension this week is actually longer and worth more in maximum money, full guaranteed money, and guaranteed for injury money than Richard Sherman’s. Sherman’s 4-year, 56 million dollar deal has 40 million guaranteed, with about 12 million fully guaranteed, while Joe Haden’s deal is worth 68 million over 5 years with 45 million guaranteed, 22 million of which is fully guaranteed. Sherman’s deal is worth more in annually value, but Haden is still getting a massive deal.

Joe Haden is a terrific cornerback, but I don’t think he’s quite at the level of deserving what Sherman got so I don’t understand this deal quite as much. I think Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis are the top cornerbacks in the NFL and there’s a big gap between them and the rest of the league. In 3 years in the NFL, Richard Sherman has allowed 115 of 248 (46.4%) for 1621 yards (6.54 YPA), 8 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions, while deflecting 34 passes and committing 26 penalties. Meanwhile, Darrelle Revis has allowed 43.1% completion, 5.41 YPA, and 12 touchdowns, while picking off 20 passes, since 2008.

In 4 years in the league, Joe Haden has allowed 179 of 331 (54.1%) for 2250 yards (6.80 YPA), 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, while deflecting 50 passes and committing 21 penalties. That’s very impressive, but it’s not at the same level as Sherman or Revis. Revis has graded out among Pro Football Focus’ top-3 cornerbacks in 4 of his last 5 healthy seasons. Meanwhile, Richard Sherman has graded out 2nd and 6th in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Joe Haden has never graded out higher than 6th in 4 seasons, doing so in his rookie year in 2010, and he came in 13th, 20th, and 18th in the last 3 seasons respectively. That’s still very impressive, especially considering the volatility of the cornerback position. He’s been one of Pro Football Focus’ top-20 cornerbacks in each of the last 4 seasons, something only the supremely underrated Jason McCourty can also say (Revis missed 2012 with injury and Sherman was still in college in 2010). Haden might be the #3 cornerback in the NFL and he’s definitely top-5, but he’s not at the same level as Sherman and Revis so this deal is a bit of an overpay.

I understand the Browns have a lot of cap space to play with and need to pay players a premium to pay for them or continue playing for them. However, the Browns obviously have designs of getting out of the cellar and building a team that will be competitive yearly in the NFL over the next few seasons. That’s going to eventually get expensive and it’s going to be harder to do that when Joe Haden’s cap number if 14.5 million in 2017. I’m not saying re-signing him was a mistake, but I think they overpaid a little. I like Sherman’s deal better than this one.

Grade: B




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