Steelers CB Joe Haden ‘optimistic’ on extension talks |

Steelers CB Joe Haden ‘optimistic’ on extension talks

Chris Adamski
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers’ Joe Haden arrives to camp Thursday, July 26, 2019 at St. Vincent College.

It wasn’t opulent or over-the-top by recent standards, but the 2017 Rolls Royce that Joe Haden drove and the Sidney Crosby jersey he wore made Haden’s arrival at Saint Vincent one of the more memorable of any of the Pittsburgh Steelers players Thursday.

This will be only Haden’s second Steelers training camp (he was signed late in the 2017 preseason). He’s hopeful for many more.

Eligible for a contract extension as he enters the final season of a three-year deal, Haden on Thursday said he was “optimistic” he and the Steelers could come to an agreement on a multiyear contract that would keep him with the team past this coming season.

“We are working on it now and trying to figure out what is going on,” the veteran cornerback said after carrying belongings into Rooney Hall. “I’m leaving that in the hands of (agent Drew Rosenhaus) and (Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert).

“We’re communicating, so that’s a good thing.”

Haden turned 30 in April and is embarking on his 10th NFL season. Although he hasn’t made the Pro Bowl since 2014, he’s arguably the best cornerback the Steelers have had since Ike Taylor’s prime. Certainly, he’s brought stability to a position that has been a thorn in the side of the Steelers through most of the Mike Tomlin era.

Haden has played in 26 games for the Steelers the past two seasons, recording three interceptions, 19 passes defensed, 83 tackles and a forced fumble.

Subjectively, he’s given the Steelers the true No. 1 cornerback they long had lacked. And without him, the depth chart at the position is muddled, especially after the other projected starter, Steven Nelson, who signed a three-year, $25.5 million contract as a free agent in March.

Haden is finishing a $27 million deal that pays him $10 million with a $11.92 salary-cap hit in 2019. An extension could lower that latter figure.

The No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Haden spent his first seven seasons with the lowly Cleveland Browns. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season since his rookie year because of injuries. Last season, Haden missed an early-season loss to Kansas City because of a hamstring injury; in 2017, a fractured fibula kept him out of five late-season games.

Haden said Thursday that injury is not an issue.

“Year 10, and I feel as healthy as I have in a couple years,” he said. “It’s just a blessing. You never take these opportunities for granted, because I have been on other end.”

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
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