The Cleveland Browns couldn’t let Joe Haden walk into the 2015 free agency sunset, so they paid the man! Haden has signed a five-year extension worth $68 million Tuesday, with $23 million of it fully guaranteed and another $22 guaranteed in the event of an injury.
That’s some good dough right there.
Is Haden worth it? Many will say that if you’re the highest paid corner you should be the best at what you do, otherwise what’s the point? We in the Northwest know he’s not the best CB, per se. He arguably might even be anywhere from three to five or six, but indeed I would say for Cleveland he is in fact worth the money because that’s their Richard Sherman. That’s today’s NFL, you have to be willing to pay top dollar for the guys that make you better, even if they aren’t better than the guys their contract is surpassing.
Sherman isn’t mad either, he sent this congratulatory tweet to Haden:
Congrats to @joehaden23 great deal bro
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) May 13, 2014
We don’t often get to talk about other teams but for just a moment, I’d like to talk about Cleveland because I really like what they’re doing and because I’m an NFL fan. Also, I’ve always sorta been a closet-Cleveland fan anyway, both in the NBA and NFL, because they have been the Seattle of another conference, an underdog who was always close but never quite on top. Anyways back to the moves they’ve made in their organization this offseason, it very much rivals what the Seahawks have done over the past few years to rise and become competitive in the NFC West and it’s very interesting.
In fact similarly to Seattle’s division, if you’re gonna be competitive in the AFC North, I think it’s pretty obvious that defense is the only true way you can accomplish it and the Browns are finally on board. Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati may soon be bowing down to Cleveland, and a world with Seattle and Cleveland on top is a world I want to live in!
I mean, they have a long ways to go still, but you couple this extension to keep their best defender to their draft and it shows at least a serious want-to-win on their part. The Dawg Pound should be overjoyed that they are taking steps in that direction. Combined, I would grade the Browns draft and this signing among anything that the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals or St. Louis Rams have accomplished this offseason.
Cleveland’s draft looked like this;
- Trade up in 1st, select top CB Justin Gilbert from Okie State at 8
- Trade up again in 1st, select Johnny Manziel from TAMU at 22
- Round 2, select OT Joel Bitonio from Nevada (one of a few linemen we really liked for Seattle)
- Round 3, select OLB Christian Kirksey (this kid from Iowa can play big-time ball)
- Round 3 again, select strong backup RB Terrance West from Towson
- Round 4, select nickel CB Pierre Desir from Lindenwood (reminds of Jeremy Lane)
I would argue that looks as good on paper as any draft the Seahawks have had since Pete Carroll took over here, though it will be a very tall task indeed for these guys to make it play out even similarly to anything Seattle has accomplished. The rest of the pieces aren’t quite in place and Josh Gordon could be facing a year-suspension which would obviously slow the offensive development with Johnny Football back there, but they are actually doing it the right way for once.
A lot of teams are following the Seattle model, which means defense is making a comeback in the NFL and the Browns are making a move in the AFC North.