The Cleveland Browns are building a roster that, when whole, looks to have a shot at reaching the NFL playoffs this coming season.
New quarterback Deshaun Watson will likely get suspended due to the many lawsuits he is facing, but if the Browns are lucky and he either gets a light suspension or no suspension at all, he will have four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper to work with.
The defensive side of the football looks promising for the Browns, but it could still use some reinforcements, especially in the secondary.
Cornerback Joe Haden was a mainstay for the team not too long ago, and although he has played the last several seasons for the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, he seemed to hint at a return with a cryptic social media post.
Free-agent CB Joe Haden posted this on social media, does that mean he's thinking of returning to his former team, the Browns? pic.twitter.com/IQXvIjfjAJ
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) June 23, 2022
Would it really be worth it for Cleveland to bring back this old favorite?
Haden Is Not Who He Used To Be
In his first seven seasons with the Browns, Haden was a very solid corner, as he made the Pro Bowl during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
He was the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and during his time with the team, he endeared himself to fans across The Land as an integral and consistent part of the squad.
With Pittsburgh, Haden continued his excellence, but of late, he has begun to truly show his age.
As recently as 2019, he was named to the Pro Bowl after posting five interceptions, 65 tackles (59 solo) and three tackles for loss.
But this past season, it was clear that Haden, who turned 33 in April, was past his prime.
When the receiver he was guarding was being targeted, the opposition’s QB posted a 100.1 rating, as opposed to a 75.9 rating the year prior and 66.5 in 2019.
Opposing QBs also achieved a 60.0 percent completion rate when throwing to Haden’s man last season, compared to 50.6 percent the previous season.
In addition, this past season he posted just 38 tackles (26 solo), which was his lowest output in that category since the 2017 campaign when he played in just 11 contests because of a fractured fibula.
The Browns Shouldn’t Expect Much, If Anything, From Haden
Many members of the Dawg Pound have criticized the Haslam family and general manager Andrew Berry for certain decisions, but the front office of the Browns isn’t as dumb as some claim it is.
If they are to consider bringing Haden back to town, they know they won’t be able to expect the type of consistent, every-down production from him they got not too long ago.
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) June 23, 2022
The AFC is as tough and loaded as it has ever been, and there is a glut of talented QBs and wideouts all across the conference, which means the Browns’ defense will need to be on point, especially if and when Watson isn’t allowed to play.
Perhaps signing Haden wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world if he is low enough on the team’s depth chart, but under no circumstances should he be a starter if the Browns are serious about returning to the playoffs.
The majority of the team’s key performers are young, and although some veteran leadership should certainly help, the voice of such leaders isn’t as strong if they cannot perform at an adequate level anymore.