The Buffalo Bills‘ biggest splash in free agency was the signing of superstar outside linebacker Von Miller, and while the franchise addressed numerous needs on both offense and defense this offseason, one vacant hole still remains, finding a starting cornerback.
While Miller is new to Bills Mafia, that doesn’t mean he can’t help the team recruit players. Last season, before Miller even made his debut with the Rams after getting traded by the Denver Broncos, he was instrumental in recruiting wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to Los Angeles, the 33-year-old told Fox Sports Sunday.
Bearing that in mind, when free-agent cornerback Joe Haden posted an Instagram video of himself playing golf with Miller, viewers wondered if this was another recruiting move by the two-time Super Bowl champion.
Miller and Haden spent Thursday, March 31 at the Lakeside Golf Club in Los Angeles, California, and the newly-signed Bills star looked like he was having a blast with the three-time Pro Bowler. While this might’ve just been a friendly hang, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Bills desperately need a cornerback, and Haden has yet to be scooped up or re-sign with the Steelers.
In the meantime, the Bills lost cornerback Levi Wallace, who was plucked by the Steelers, seemingly as Haden’s replacement. Wallace signed a two-year, $8 million contract with Pittsburgh, per Spotrac.com.
ESPN‘s Alaina Getzenberg reported on March 24, “After letting Levi Wallace leave for the Steelers, Buffalo does not have a clear No. 2 corner behind Tre’Davious White, who is recovering from a torn ACL. Dane Jackson, entering his third season, was solid filling in for White last year, but he should have competition for that starting role.
“Adding to the position through the draft and with a veteran free agent would be wise for what is shaping up to be a top defense yet again.”
Haden Said Goodbye to Steelers Nation Following the Team’s Playoff Loss
The 32-year-old cornerback wasted no time in saying goodbye to the Steelers following their 41-21 AFC Wildcard playoff loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. Even though he turns 33 on April 14, Haden also made it clear that he wasn’t looking to retire.
He tweeted on January 16, “Steelers Nation….. I love u Guys! The Love I have felt from day One here has been unbelievable and I can’t thank you guys enough! We will see what the future holds! #GoldsPlan #ImNotDoneBalling!”
Following three weeks of free agency, Haden, who’s an unrestricted free agent, is still on the market, and Cover 1 host Greg Thompsett tweeted that he’s a “potential target” for the Bills roster.
Aside from Haden’s age, there’s some concern over his injury history. Haden missed the Steelers’ home opener against the Las Vegas Raiders after suffering a groin injury in practice two days earlier, and then missed another four games with a mid-foot sprain suffered against the Detroit Lions in mid-November. The 5-foot-11 corner finished the 2021 NFL season with 26 solo tackles and 12 assisted, per Pro Football Reference.
Ranked as NFL.com‘s No. 100 top free agent this offseason, “Haden could still provide quality snaps on a year-to-year basis,” Around The NFL‘s Gregg Rosenthal wrote.
Throughout his career, the former first-round pick of the 2010 NFL Draft has recorded a total of 29 interceptions for 290 yards and two touchdowns.
Bills’ Analysts & Fans Have Mixed Reactions to Possibly Signing Haden
While an experienced cornerback would be the perfect addition to round out the Bills’ defense, not everyone is sold on Haden. After seeing Miller golfing with Haden, SB Nation’s Bruce Noal tweeted, “Joe Haden was pretty ‘meh’ last year and the Steelers signed Levi Wallace to replace him. I would feel similarly ‘meh’ about a potential #Bills signing.
However, plenty of Bills fans expressed their excitement at the possibility of signing Haden.