Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Would pursuing Joe Haden make sense for the Bucs?

Joe Haden is among the top defensive backs in the NFL and is free to sign with any team after being released by the Cleveland Browns.

Wouldn't it make sense for the Bucs to pursue him?

Cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves is entering his second season and Brent Grimes is 34. There isn't any real depth behind those players. Haden is a two-time Pro Bowl player and you would think the former Florida Gators star would be receptive to returning to the state where he played collegiately. So in many ways, it might be a good fit.

A couple things to consider. Haden is going to want to sign with a team where he won't have to compete. The job has to be waiting for him. ESPN already has reported that the Saints and Chiefs are leading contenders to sign Haden, which can be done as soon as after 4 p.m. today.

He's also not going to work cheap. The Browns owe him a guaranteed $4-million for 2017. The salary is off-set, which means that amount is subtracted by the deal he signs with his new team (which could be a minimum contract for '17). But he's also going to want lucrative, long-term deal and probably deserves it. Haden has deposited half of the five-year, $68 million extension he signed in 2014. The Browns owed him $32.9-million non-guaranteed the next three years.

Haden has missed some games with injury. In 2012, he was suspended four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs.

But the biggest thing to remember is that Haden is a free agent. That means ultimately he gets to decide which team he will play with once the offers pour in.

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