The Browns didn’t want to lose Joe Haden, right? : While We’re Waiting

Happy Friday everyone. I’m not commenting on the Browns’ fourth preseason game at all, but I am finally weighing in on the Joe Haden release and signing with the Steelers. Before I get there, however, I want to tell you about Patreon. I don’t know if you’ve noticed what’s happening in the sports media landscape, but it isn’t a lot of profit. WFNY is a labor of love and it needs the support of its audience to stay alive. Thanks so much to all those who continue to support. I met a Patreon supporter yesterday and it’s so cool. So please consider it if you like what we do here. Now, about the Browns.

Is this another miscalculation by the Browns’ front office?

Sometimes it feels like Sashi Brown and his crew outsmart themselves. That’s how it felt with the ultimate loss of Mitchell Schwartz. That’s the way I felt with how the Terrelle Pryor situation worked out. Now that Joe Haden is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I’ve got that sinking feeling once again.

Before we get to the Browns, let’s talk about what it is that Joe Haden got from the Steelers. Haden’s deal included a $5.75 million signing bonus and salary of $1.25 million. That $7 million is all that’s actually guaranteed to Haden, and that’s all he’s likely to earn from the Steelers via this deal. There’s almost a zero-percent chance that Joe Haden sees the $9 million salary in year two of the deal, let alone the $10 million in year three. Most likely the Steelers cut or keep Joe Haden next season by ripping up the old deal or taking the cap hit of $3.8 million to say goodbye.

Back to the Browns, that $7 million is reportedly the same amount the Browns wanted Joe Haden to play for in Cleveland after unsuccessfully finding a trade partner. It’s just so hard to believe that the same team that managed a fifth-round pick for first-round buster Cameron Erving couldn’t find a willing taker for Joe Haden even with an $11 million salary. Granted, that salary is a bit hard to place in a capped league. Granted, a team that wanted Haden could presumably just wait and try and sign him later. Still, the Browns’ job is to find someone who wants to take him and get anything in return. They seem to have failed to do that. Or did they?

The timing of everything, including the rumors that the Browns were shopping Joe Haden heavily, followed by the rumor of asking for a pay cut, followed by the release of Joe Haden, makes me think. The Browns offered him a pay cut meaning they wanted to keep him. When this all went down with a rare Browns fan-favorite, it seems to me that the Browns didn’t get what they wanted at all in this situation. In their handling of the deal – not finding a trade partner and then not getting a salary reduction – they end up watching a former Pro Bowl player who is beloved by Browns fans everywhere released and signed by the team’s most historical and hated rival.

It’s quite obviously not at all what they were going for and they put themselves in a position where a historically popular Browns player likely called them out, asked for his release, got a classy exit, and put himself in a position to embarrass the team twice a year.

I’m not saying that’s how it’s going to work out. I’m not convinced that Joe Haden is ever going to be the Pro Bowl caliber player that we came to love. I consistently discuss the Browns and their moves as if I’m judging the front office as a poker player. In yet another case where they had a chance to play poker, it seems like they lost this hand.

I like the players they’ve drafted and signed in free agency. I love the new offensive line, the Jamie Collins trade, and subsequent signing. I’m not saying this front office is a disaster or all bad. I am saying, however, that they’re showing a consistency in personnel dealings and it’s not good. There’s a striking similarity in the losses of players like Joe Haden, Terrelle Pryor, and Mitchell Schwartz. In all those cases the Browns had a sense of reality, presumably wanted to keep each of them, and yet managed to watch all three exit for very reasonable dollar amounts. You can congratulate them for not overpaying guys, I guess, but until we can congratulate them for keeping key talent and winning football games, you have to keep these guys on notice.

Manchester Orchestra has graduated to a new level…

This might as well be a personal email to Andrew. We’ve discussed music for the better part of a decade now, but sometimes we need to spend extra time convincing each other of things. Manchester Orchestra is one where I think we both like them, but I like them more recently than Andrew does. I think this video of one of their new songs will prove my point that they’ve taken a leap forward, even from their early stuff that I love to a ridiculous degree.