Browns, Headlines

Hue Jackson, Christian Kirksey wanted Browns to keep Joe Haden

When news surfaced on that the Cleveland Browns are aggressively trying to trade cornerback Joe Haden on Tuesday, it wasn’t much of a surprise. What was more of a surprise was that when the Browns couldn’t find a trade partner, the two-time Pro Bowler was cut on Wednesday.

After the trade rumors came about, head coach Hue Jackson and linebacker Christian Kirksey were quoted in support of keeping Haden on the roster. According to the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich, the two talked about No. 23 following practice on Tuesday.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

“I trust [head of football operations] Sashi [Brown] and his group to make the right decisions that I think is best for our football team,” Jackson said of the rumors. “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.”

“I think he’s had a great training camp,” Jackson said. “I think he’s played well in our [preseason] games.”

A teammate of Haden’s since being drafted by the Browns in 2014, Kirksey has looked up to the cornerback for the past three years. Not only has he went to him for advice, but he also considers Haden one of the biggest leaders on the Browns while he continues to make plays on the field.

“He’s a hell of a player, a hell of a person, and he’s done nothing but great things for this organization,” Kirksey said of Haden. “So I don’t know what’s going on with that whole thing. That’s way above my head. But I’m definitely hoping that he will stay with us.

“He’s having one of his best camps. He’s out there making plays. He’s our leader on our defense. He’s been to multiple Pro Bowls. This is year eight for him. He’s been here making plays,” the linebacker said. “So I would definitely hope to see him still here, but I know it’s a business, and all of that is way above my head.”

The Browns need veteran leadership on a team with so many young players, but at what expense? With Haden not performing on the field and being out-played by at least three of the cornerbacks still on the roster, the team decided it could not afford to pay him as a Top 10 cornerback in the league. Jamar Taylor and Jason McCourty will most likely be the starting cornerbacks come September 10 with Brien Boddy-Calhoun set to also play a significant amount of snaps.

Injuries have tarnished the talent that Haden once had. After making the Pro Bowl in both 2013 and 2014, he missed 11 games due to two concussion (and other injuries) in 2015, one of which required ankle surgery last offseason. Then, in 2016, he played through a groin injury that caused him to miss three games before having surgery on both groin muscles this offseason. In April, he made it clear that he believes he can be one of the best corners in the game, but that seems to be all talk at this point after the way he has under-performed throughout the preseason.

With reports now circulating that the Browns discussed pay cuts and possible cuts with Haden and his representation last week, the quotes from Kirksey and Jackson might have been made as a tip of the cap to a well-respected and established veteran. No matter why they were made, they show that Haden’s leadership and personality will be missed in the Browns locker room as much as he will be by the fans in the community.

  • Saggy

    Coach wouldn’t dare undermine the FO’s attempt to trade the guy.

  • MartyDaVille

    This is why I don’t like this move at all. Haden was good enough to be the starter for less than $11 million but not for $11 million. So they have admitted that they are going to let a lesser player have his job and sacrifice talent for cap space, which they don’t even need.

    This sends a bad message to the players, it doesn’t improve the “culture” but in fact worsens it, and it undermines the coaches. No way Hue says all those nice things about Haden if he didn’t want him here as a starter.

    Accountants win, football team loses.

  • mgbode
  • MartyDaVille

    Based on . . . ?

  • mgbode

    His performance- or lack thereof- on the field.

  • woofersus

    Yeah, he didn’t look very good out there to my eyes.

  • MartyDaVille

    Michael, Hue didn’t think so.

  • tigersbrowns2

    you make a good point , but let’s let it play-out first & then see if this was the right decision. Haden is going to end up somewhere else … watch , he’ll end-up in Pittsburgh or something like that & it will be a little uncomfortable for us …. but , i’m sure he’ll have a chip on his shoulder.

  • mgbode

    Yes, he did. Well-timed quotes in their last-ditch effort to make a trade, no?

    Haden was not going to start against Pitt. No doubt in my mind.

  • mgbode
  • mgbode

    I remember when some worried a bit about Justin Gilbert signing with the Steelers. Haden, unlike Gilbert, was once a quite good corner, but both left the Browns as players we should not fear facing.

  • MartyDaVille

    You just made that up. Come on, mg, you’re better than that. Way better.

    Hue has just been embarrassed by his own front office. I doubt that he willingly did that just to spark some nebulous trade feelers.

    Whether or not Haden is any good, he was still the best Hue had. You don’t sandbag your head coach like that.

  • JM85

    Pesky stats

  • mgbode

    I made nothing up, I said what I think happened based on everything that has been reported.

    Here’s how I read it based on reports:

    As noted in the other thread…

    Reported & using cap numbers
    We have been trying to trade Joe Haden all offseason but no one wants to pay a declining cornerback the $7.1 million (it’s $11.1 million but our break-even point on cap savings is $7.1m) it would take to make sense for the Browns to trade him.

    We ask Joe to take a pay cut after TB game, he says no. We tell him we’ll make one more try to trade him but will cut him otherwise. We’ll do it a couple days in advance to give him a better chance at signing w/ another team.

    Opinion based on what happened
    We leak we are being aggressive trying to trade him as a last ditch effort but also to prepare the fanbase for him leaving.


    Now, you are trying to tell me that Hue Jackson didn’t know that the FO met w/ Haden on Saturday to inform him his refusal to take a pay cut would result in being traded or cut?

    Hue’s quotes might have just been a goodwill gesture to a respected veteran, but either way he knew Haden was out the door and wasn’t making a fuss about it. Why? opinion based on facts Jackson saw what everyone could see- Haden isn’t good anymore.

  • MartyDaVille
  • Chris

    To lighten things up a bit… Gary Sanchez just gave up another run on a pass ball!

  • mgbode

    Gary Sanchez’s defense brings me great joy.

  • MartyDaVille

    No things-lightening necessary, Chris. My passionate arguments are no match for mg’s deft use of italics. I concede. 🙂

  • Natedawg86

    Do the Stoolers draft him so they can get insight on Browns D for week 1?

  • Natedawg86

    If Haden were a true CLE fan, he would not consider signing with the Steelers or Ravens

  • mgbode

    Just in case, here are some Hue quotes:

    On gauging where the Browns running game is now compared to last year:
    “It is better because we have better players on our roster that are playing inside. (OL) Shon Coleman is coming on. (OL) Cam (Erving) is coming on.”


    “(OL) Shon Coleman has had a really good camp, not that I didn’t know about him, but he was coming off of a knee injury and improving, and (OL) Cam (Erving). Cam has done a great job at tackle. Both of those guys have really jumped out to me because we needed to see him go from center to tackle. I think he has proven that he is worthy of playing out there.”


    There are more, but I think you get the point.

  • woofersus

    Even in this preseason. I had held out hope that he could return to form, or at least to being a decent starting-caliber cb, if he could finally shake the nagging injuries. He never had elite speed, which occasionally exposed him against certain WR’s, but he made up for it by being physical and having great ball skills and leaping ability. But now he just looks like he can’t keep up.

  • mgbode

    Pitt giving him $7m this year. Good for Haden and good for the Browns (twice).

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