CLEVELAND -- Before the Cleveland Browns took the field for their final practice of the preseason ahead of their trip to Chicago for the exhibition finale against the Bears at Soldier Field Thursday night, reports surfaced Tuesday about the team looking to trade two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden.
According to the initial report from Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports, the Browns are “very motivated” to get rid of Haden’s contract, one that comes with a cap hit of $14.4 million during the 2017 season. Haden is currently in the third season of a five-year contract extension that he signed during the 2014 offseason.
“I trust Sashi (Brown) and his group to make the right decisions that I think are best for our football team,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “Do I want Joe on our football team? Yes. Like I said, whatever our organization thinks is best, that is what we will do.
“This is a time of year where everything is happening and things start getting said. Obviously, I don’t know that. We will deal with those things as we move forward.”
Health has been a major concern when it comes to the Browns’ secondary in recent seasons, and over the last two years, Haden has been bitten by the injury bug on several occasions.
Since signing the long-term contract extension, Haden has missed 15 games because of a wide variety of injuries, everything from a pair of concussions that short-circuited his 2015 season to finger and groin issues that forced him to the sideline for multiple games.
But following offseason surgery to repair groin issues, Haden returned to the team and was hungry to improve upon the 1-15 record the Browns posted during the 2016 season.
A first-round pick out of the University of Florida in the 2010 NFL Draft, Haden registered 376 total tackles, including 311 solo stops, 65 assists, two sacks, 101 passes defended, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 19 interceptions, which he returned for 231 yards and one touchdown, in his seven professional seasons.
Haden has made 81 starts in 90 games for the Browns, but missed 22 contests due to multiple injuries.
“I think he has had a great training camp, and I think he played well in our games,” Jackson said. “He is a huge piece of what we do on defense, and we will just keep moving forward from there.”