Joe Haden Has Message for Steelers Fans After Blowout Loss to Chiefs

Joe Haden

Justin Berl/Getty Images Joe Haden of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game against the Cleveland Browns on January 3, 2022.

Not long after the final whistle in Sunday night’s 42-21 AFC Wildcard loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden tweeted a message that expressed his love for the team’s fans and let the NFL world know that he plans to continue his playing career, which has spanned 12 seasons.

As to whether his career will continue in Pittsburgh: “We’ll see what the future holds!” added the three-time Pro Bowler.

Joe Haden Will be an Unrestricted Free Agent

Haden, who has been in Pittsburgh since 2017, approached the team about a contract extension this past summer, but the Steelers made little effort to extend his existing deal. That has led to speculation that the organization doesn’t consider the soon-to-be 33-year-old a part of their future plans. But that’s not necessarily true, said Steelers insider Gerry Dulac on January 5.

Fact is, the Steelers have been a lot better with Haden than without him. In 2020 and 2021 the Steelers went 20-6-1 in games in which Haden was in the lineup, as compared to a miserable 1-7 in his absence. That includes an 8-4-1 record with him in 2021, as compared to 1-4 when he was sidelined by injury.

The latest Steelers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Steelers newsletter here!

On the other hand, Haden didn’t have his best game against the Chiefs, in which he was credited with six tackles (four solo). Most notably, he was beaten for a 12-yard touchdown on a throw and catch from Patrick Mahomes to Byron Pringle that gave Kansas City a 14-7 lead it would never relinquish.

For what it’s worth, Haden finished the 2021 season ranked No. 62 among cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus, three slots ahead of Steven Nelson (Philadelphia Eagles), who the Steelers released in March 2021 in a cost-savings move. That’s better than fellow Steelers cornerbacks Cameron Sutton and James Pierre, who were ranked No. 70 and No. 88, respectively. But it’s a far cry from 26-year-old Ahkello Witherspoon, who finished the year ranked No. 16 (with a 78.8 pass coverage grade), having been acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in a trade that was consummated on September 3, 2021.

Like Haden, Witherspoon is a pending unrestricted free agent, and the Steelers might prefer to invest their cornerback dollars in him, especially when one considers that the former third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers (2017) is 6-foot-2 and in the prime of his career.

Meanwhile, durability would likely be an increasing worry with Haden, who missed four games in 2021 with a mid-foot sprain suffered against the Detroit Lions in mid-November. He also missed the home opener against the Las Vegas Raiders, having suffered a groin injury in practice two days earlier.

Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Steelers Will Select No. 20 Overall in 2022

With the 2021-22 season now over for the Steelers, the organization can begin looking ahead to the future. By virtue of losing to the Chiefs on Sunday night, the Steelers receive the No. 20 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Pittsburgh hasn’t selected at No. 20 since 1985, when the team took defensive lineman Darryl Sims out of Wisconsin.

This year the Steelers’ top needs are at quarterback and on the offensive line.

Steelers Make Decision on Kevin Dotson
Bears Request to Interview Steelers Exec for General Manager Job: Report
Steelers 2022 Opponents Home and Away

Read More