When you’re a decorated cornerback, you’ll appeal to the Los Angeles Rams.
Aqib Talib made his way over via trade after five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. Marcus Peters was a two-time Pro Bowler before getting dealt away to the Rams. Of course, the Rams pulled off their most blockbuster move in 2019 by snatching Jalen Ramsey who came off of two Pro Bowl nods and was in his prime.
Turns out, there was one more cornerback with Pro Bowls in tow who had listed the Rams as one of his four destinations had he continued to play.
The 3-Time Pro Bowler Who Could’ve Been a Ram
Per ESPN senior NFL reporter and insider Jeremy Fowler on the morning of Wednesday, September 21, the retired Joe Haden listed the Super Bowl champs as a potential landing spot.
“In the offseason, Joe Haden had intentions of playing a 13th NFL season, with Cardinals, Rams, Dolphins and Raiders among teams that showed interest,” Fowler tweeted.
However, “A deal didn’t come together. Haden made $121.4 million for his career. Hard to take any old deal at that point.”
But think on that: A Rams defense that already has an All-Pro talent in Ramsey nearly could’ve had a pairing between he and Haden.
What Could Have Been
Had there been a linking between Ramsey and Haden, you could’ve witnessed the following inside the “Rams House:”
An extra ballhawk: Ramsey has snatched 16 career interceptions, with his 16th coming in the final two minutes in the Sunday, September 18 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Inglewood. The elder Haden, meanwhile, was one interception away from 30 in his career according to Pro Football Reference. Also via PFR, the now 33-year-old Haden has produced six seasons of swooping between three to six interceptions in his 12 seasons.
Tight window closer: Haden established himself as one of the top cornerbacks at defending the tight window throws his way. Next Gen Stats in June 2021 calculated that Haden only allowed a completion percentage of 24.3% in tight window throws for the 2020 season. And his average yards of separation between he and an opposing wide receiver? Only 2.2 yards of a gap between he and the wideout.
Aerial Denier: This is where Haden would’ve also came in handy — denying the sky. Per PFR, Haden tallied a total of 155 pass deflections. That includes nine seasons of producing between 11 to 20 pass breakups. And according to The Score’s Daniel Valente, Haden delivered more defensed passes than any defender since 2010.
A pairing like Haden and Ramsey could’ve given Ram fans some Talib and Peters thoughts. And the latter duo went to Super Bowl 53 together. Haden could’ve also walked into a Rams secondary that’s currently battling injuries with Troy Hill getting placed on injured reserve due to a groin injury from the Falcons game and Decobie Durant sustaining a grade 1 hamstring strain. The Rams are planning to roll with either Robert Rochell or rookie Derion Kendrick if Hill and Durant can’t go.
Haden, though, made his official retirement announcement on Wednesday morning. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that Haden planned to sign a one-day contract with the Cleveland Browns so he can retire for the team he began his NFL journey with in 2010.