Eagles Advised to Sign Former Steelers Pro Bowler

Joe Haden Steelers

Joe Sargent/Getty Images Joe Haden of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates a stop on fourth down to end the game at Heinz Field on December 19, 2021.

It’s been nearly two months since former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden reached unrestricted free agency, a fact not lost on Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report, who listed the three-time Pro Bowler as one of eight players he’s surprised to see still available.

Knox suspects that the 33-year-old cornerback remains unsigned due to a combination of factors, including his age and because “Haden probably isn’t interested in battling for a roster spot in minicamps and OTAs. He won’t be viewed as a long-term answer either,” says Knox, “which means teams will assess what they have in younger players, including rookies, before turning to someone who’s likely nearing the end of his career.”

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The Eagles Need a Short-Term Solution at Cornerback

But there is one team that has been repeatedly linked to Haden in recent weeks, and that’s the Philadelphia Eagles.

Chris Franklin, who covers the Eagles for NJ.com, believes Haden is one of two cornerbacks who would be a good fit to address the team’s remaining need at the position, with the other being Xavier Rhodes.

Likewise, Arch Kives of Philly Sports Network expects that Haden could come in and readily fill the team’s need for a No. 2 cornerback.

The Cincinnati Bengals have also been seen as a good fit for Haden, where he would be re-united with former teammates Mike Hilton, who signed a four-year contract with the Bengals in March 2021.

What About a Third Contract With the Steelers?

There’s also a decent chance that Haden could return to the Steelers for at least one more season.

In The Athletic’s Monday May 9 AFC North Whiparound, Steelers beat reporter Mark Kaboly said, “don’t count out a Joe Haden return to the team,” echoing thoughts recently expressed by longtime Steelers insider Gerry Dulac.

“The Steelers have some talent at cornerback, but nowhere near enough established talent. You can’t tell me Haden wasn’t their best corner last year, because he was,” adds Kaboly, who wonders whether the former No. 7 overall pick will want to continue playing for the money he’s likely to get offered.

“Haden has made $121 million over 12 seasons, and to ask him to play for $2 million this year … that’s a place a lot of players who have made that kind of cash don’t want to go,” he concludes.

But the Steelers could certainly do a lot worse than Haden, adding him back into a mix that includes likely starters Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon, the latter of whom was acquired in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks in last September and was re-signed to a new two-year deal on March 25. As I pointed out in January, the Steelers went 20-6-1 in games in which Haden was in the lineup over the past two seasons, as compared to a miserable 1-7 in his absence.

Anyway, the Steelers may have time to further assess their cornerback situation, as there’s a good chance that Haden will still be unsigned when training camp rolls around.

As noted by the aforementioned Knox: “Several younger veteran cornerbacks — including Trae Waynes (29), Kyle Fuller (30), Vernon Hargreaves III (26) and Mackensie Alexander (28) — are still available. Moving on Haden won’t be a priority because the market isn’t bone-dry.”

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