Joe Haden gets a new contract extension and it is well deserved. He is now the highest paid CB in the NFL. He will be making more than Superbowl winning Richard Sherman.
Some might think this contract is a bad idea, I beg to differ. Joe Haden has the 2nd-most disrupted dropbacks in the NFL since his rookie season in 2010 and the most among all defensive backs period. One can go through all of the details and statistics of his short 5 year career and undoubtedly agree he is a top 3 CB in the NFL. He helped his 2014 defense become ranked in the top 10 and had a pro-bowl season which obviously contributed to his heavy paycheck. He also has played on a bad team which in return has cause many teams to simply not throw to his side of the field. A blessing and a curse. He has played on a struggling team and has never had the opportunity to play any post-season football. Joe is on his way to a Hall of Fame Career and should be even better now with a future lockdown star CB Justin Gilbert, the Cleveland Browns 8th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Teams now have to pick a poison.
With that said, I am more interested in is what Haden has been able to do off of the field.
Anytime you have a player who has experienced struggles with drugs or alcohol and uses it as motivation wins points in my book. Haden’s 2012 suspension for Adderall, a drug used to control ADHD, was a scary moment for Browns fans. Picked 7th overall in the 2010 NFL draft, he was meant to be a star player without any off the field problems. Late in 2012 just before the NFL season was underway, Joe was suspended 4 games at the start of the season.
Since then, Joe Haden has been nothing but a pro-bowl player and an asset on and off the field. Undoubtedly, he resembles what the Browns wants in their locker room. New Head Coach Mike Pettine has been infusing his new saying, “Play like a Brown”, and Joe Haden fits that saying to its core. Playing like a Brown means you need to play hard, work hard and stay clean off of the field. With Joe Haden doing just that, he gets what he deserves, a hefty pay check.
The main reason I bring up a subject most people have forgotten by now, Joe Haden’s 2012 suspension, is because the Browns currently have arguably their most talented player in jeopardy of being suspended as well. WR Josh Gordon faces a potential season ban for testing positive fore Marijuana. Joe Haden is the perfect person to help Josh Gordon figure out what is wrong and help him get on the right track. Even if he (Gordon) does miss this upcoming season, Joe Haden can help him get where he needs to be in the future. That in itself is worth a chunk of the $68 million Joe Haden will recieve. Working hard on and off of the field pays off and Joe Haden is proof of that. The potential and value for Josh Gordon is even greater than Haden’s and he needs a mentor and friend to help him with whatever he needs help with. Gordon is only 22, still a kid, but needs to grow up fast. Joe Haden can help him with that. Now that Haden is signed through 2019, he will be there to help be an example to younger players and lead the team.
Most players get paid for what they do on the field, but I have a feeling this is much more than that; a contract that could lead to others contracts. If Joe Haden can step up to a new challenge, Josh Gordon needs his help. Disrupting passes and intercepting the ball is second nature to Joe Haden…helping others with drug issues can be too. Iron sharpens iron. Players help players. Haden’s suspension might be a blessing in disguise and let’s hope it is.