"We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field," Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said in a statement released by the team. "He has been a great teammate and a true asset to the Cleveland community. These are very difficult decisions, we have the utmost respect for Joe and in my eyes, he will always be a Cleveland Brown."
"Joe gave everything he had for the Cleveland Browns and that's all you can ask for as a coach," Browns coach Hue Jackson said in the statement. "He was a leader on and off the field. I wish him all the best as he continues his career."
The Browns were hoping to trade Haden because his production didn't match his compensation.
Hadenfor five years and $67.5 million. The seventh overall pick in 2010 and a two-time Pro Bowl selection, Haden had six interceptions and 18 passes defended as a rookie. But he has struggled with injuries and consistency in recent years and that -- along with his salary -- prompted the Browns to get younger and cheaper at the position.
Haden ranked No. 7 in average salary among cornerbacks (per Spotrac.com) but he was one of the NFL's worst-performing cornerbacks last season, according to ProFootball Focus' grading system. He finished 115th out of 132 cornerbacks among all cornerbacks.
Haden had been outplayed in the preseason by not only the other cornerbacks on the roster, but by every other defender, according to PFF's metrics, which is why the Browns are comfortable moving forward with Jamar Taylor, Jason McCourty and Briean Boddy-Calhoun.
Of course, in a league where cornerbacks are among the most sought-after players after quarterback and pass rusher, there will no doubt be interest in Haden's services. The Eagles and Steelers are two teams that come to mind, and according to Haden's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, the cornerback won't be out of work long.
Joe Haden's agent Drew Rosenhaus on his client: "Tons of interest in him. He will have a new deal with another team by tomorrow afternoon."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 30, 2017
Jackson spoke Tuesday about the speculation that the team was trying to trade Haden
"I trust Sashi and his group to make the right decisions that I think is best for our football team," Jackson said, via Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. "Do I want Joe Haden on our football team? Yes, but whatever our organization thinks is best for our football team, that's what we'll do."
And after no attractive trade offers materialized, the Browns released Haden.